Car Dealerships Report Major Parts Backlog – 5,000 Texas UAW Members Join Strike – 500 South African Gold Miners Occupy Pit

5,000 GM workers in Texas go on strike (REUTERS/James Breeden)


Greetings from the Burgh, where we are getting ready to announce some exciting news. (More on this later in the week.)

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5,000 Texas GM Workers Join “Stand Up” Strike 

On Tuesday, more than 5,000 UAW members at GM’s Arlington Assembly plant went on strike, shutting down production at GM’s largest and most profitable plant. 

“The workers who make some of GM’s most profitable vehicles, the Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, are joining the unprecedented Stand Up Strike against all three of the Big Three automakers,” the UAW said in a statement. “The move comes just hours after GM reported third-quarter earnings of $3.5 billion”. 

For a gallery of photos from the picket line, check out the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Car Repairs Taking Longer Due to UAW Strike 

According to the consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, LLC, the UAW “Stand Up” Strike has already cost the economy more than $9 billion. Now, some dealerships report having trouble getting parts because of the ongoing strike. 

“It was strange for a car to be in our shop longer than five or six weeks,” Dominica Medine, owner of Medine’s Collision Center, told WAFB. “It was really strange. Now, that’s not strange. They’re here a lot longer than that.”

For more, check out WAFB. 

Detroit Artists Upset Over “Detroit Be the Change Murals” Paid at Below Market Rates 

In Detroit, artists are upset over the city selecting international artists from Europe to pay murals primarily of Black Detroit residents at rates lower than what Detroit artists would be paid. From Metro Times: 

Driving in downtown Detroit, passing Cass Avenue at I-75, a towering mural of Bakpak Durden catches our eye. On social media, people have been asking who painted this glorious depiction of the Detroit artist now gracing downtown Detroit’s skyline, and even wondering if it had been painted by Durden. Another nearby mural depicting a girl singing into a microphone with birds finding newfound freedom from their cages declares, “The sound of change has many voices.”

We thought they may have been part of the City Walls program, where local artists are selected to “beautify” Detroit neighborhoods with art approved by residents, but we soon realized they were painted by international artists (who are mostly European). That’s when Detroit muralist Sydney James called us.

“All of these white artists painted Black people,” she says. “There was no vetting process or anything. They said, ‘Hey we can come in and paint these walls,’ and the city said OK, but they make Detroit artists go through the wringer and do all these community activations before they can put something up. These European artists weren’t asked to do all of that.”

The artists hope the city agrees to a community benefits agreement for any new projects. For more, check out Metro Times. 

Inside Tough Battle to Unionize a Korean Grocery 

Finally, The LAist has an indepth look at the tough campaign to unionize a Korean Grocery: 

Sim, who has worked at the store for four and a half years, said she realized workers needed a union during the pandemic when they were not given help with protective equipment or social distancing. As more co-workers caught COVID, Sim had a panic attack and called in sick. She said upon her return, a manager chastised her for missing work.

The message from management, Sim said, was “we have to protect the company. So you have to be here.”

Another employee, Antonia Gonzalez, said that over more than five years of working at Hannam, she would complain of sanitation problems such as a cockroach infestation in the kitchen where she worked. Management, she said, threatened to shut down the kitchen and eliminate jobs if health inspectors ever learned about the bugs.

Instead, the kitchen jobs were outsourced, and Hernandez said she was made a cashier six months ago.

For more, check out the LAist. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]