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UAW member talks potential realities of going on strike

A worker at the GM propulsion plant in west Toledo and a member of UAW 14 said that as a third-generation union worker, he was prepared for this possibility.

TOLEDO, Ohio — For weeks, UAW workers have been preparing for the possibility of a strike as contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers continue without resolution. If an agreement is not reached before contracts expire, all 150,000 UAW members will go on strike.

Ryan Lukasik, a worker at the GM propulsion plant in west Toledo and member of UAW Local 14, told WTOL 11 that he was prepared for this possibility as a third-generation union worker.

He and his wife, who also works for the plant,  have been saving for a potential strike since the start of the year. But even with savings intact, Lukasik said it won't be easy for his family.

Living on a combined $1,000 a week of strike pay, plus the savings they have, Lukasik said his family of five will need to cut back if they will make it through the strike. For Lukasik's family, that means fewer home-cooked meals and more ramen, and very possibly fewer presents under the tree at Christmas.

But Lukasik said there are people who will have it even worse, knowing many at the plant didn't start setting aside money to build savings at all. He said those people will struggle the hardest during the strike.

While going weeks trying to make ends meet is less than ideal, Lukasik says these are sacrifices he, his family and the people he works shoulder to shoulder with every day are prepared for, in order to get a better life on the other side.

"As a union, your goal is to be together as one," he said. "The person next to me should be making the same wages as me, we're a family of brothers and sisters. Corporate greed across America has gotten out of control. There's a way of life in the middle class that's being stripped away from us and we want to maintain that, not just for us, but for future generations."

In less than three days, Lukasik and the rest of the UAW will know whether or not a strike will become a reality if contracts with the Big Three aren't settled by Thursday at 11:59 p.m.

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