Eric McAleavey, (sixth from right) and other workers at the General Motors’ Hudson Parts Distribution Center in Wisconsin picket outside the facility on Sept, 22, 2023. They were among 38 parts distribution centers called out on Friday to escalate UAW’s ”stand-up strike” against the Big Three Automakers.

Wisconsin Autoworkers Are Bundling Firewood for a Winter Picket Line

HUDSON, WIS.—On the morning of Friday, September 22, workers at General Motors Parts Distribution Center calmly put away their equipment, gathered their personal belongings and stepped off the job. They’d been selected to strike as a part of the United Auto Workers’ second wave of stand-up strikes against the “Big Three” automakers (Ford, GM and Stellantis). 

A line of cars formed exiting the parking lot, filled with workers wearing red UAW shirts, as truck drivers along the industrial road sounded their horns in solidarity. 

The Hudson, Wis., facility, located just over 20 miles from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, last went on strike for 44 days in 2019 as a part of a national UAW strike against GM. Kenny Carrier, a GM worker for 27 years and a shop chair in his UAW Local 722, reflects that there were many demands that were not won in the 2019 strike, but the new national leadership of the UAW makes him more optimistic this time around. 

Several workers say that while they hope this strike won’t go as long as the 2019 strike, they’re willing to strike for however long it takes. Workers are already contributing to a shed of firewood on the picket line in case the strike continues through the colder months. 

The president of UAW Local 722, Steve Frisque, wears a t-shirt that reads “COLA and fair pay now”, alluding to the cost-of-living allowance (COLA) that workers sacrificed to support the company through bankruptcy in 2009. Although the companies are now making record profits, the workers have yet to recuperate COLA, and it’s one of the union’s top demands.