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Union workers striking against GM

WASHINGTON, DC (NBC) - Thousands of union workers are on strike against automaker General Motors.

The United Auto Workers union called this nationwide strike Monday morning - their first in more than 30 years - after talks broke down over the weekend.

UAW says they didn't want this strike, but felt pushed in a corner after GM - in their words - refused to give as much as it was getting.

Nine days into a contract extension - 73,000 union workers from Detroit walked off the job at 82 General Motors plants and warehouses.

UAW president Ron Gettelfinger says, "This is nothing that we wanted. Nobody wins in a strike. But there comes a point in time when somebody can push you off a cliff - and that's exactly what happened here."

The main issue is job security. The union is reportedly trying to get GM to commit to building new vehicles in the US. UAW worker Derrell Dates says, "If you continue to go down that path - there won't be any good paying jobs in America."

In a statement, GM says it's "disappointed" UAW called a strike, that the issues are "complex" and "difficult" and the company is "fully committed" to finding solutions.

But experts say they may not come quickly. Heather Boushey of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says, "Once a union and a company have gone into a strike mode, it means both people have dug their heels in a little bit and it seems the bargaining position, the negotiating stance, of each of them is a bit more rigid."

Also on the table - but not behind this strike - is health insurance for retired workers. GM wants to move $51 billion in un-funded health costs to a trust fund managed by the union.

While on strike, workers get $200 a week from the union. Experts say GM has enough inventory on hand to withstand a short strike.

Both sides say they want to head back to the bargaining table quickly.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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