GM workers surprised by layoffs in KCK

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - Production stopped at the GM plant in Fairfax on Wednesday at noon. The plant went idle due to a part shortage.

The parts shortage is caused by the UAW strike at GM’s Wentzville, Missouri, facility in the St. Louis area. Now, workers are waiting for what’s going to happen next – as they don’t know when their next paycheck is going to come.

“We were put into full layoff status,” said Brandon Crabtree, who has worked at the Fairfax plant for 21 years.

Plant workers at the UAW Local 31 told KCTV5 no advance notice was given before the plant went idle.

“We didn’t know it was going to happen today,” said Tony Pryor, the Vice President of UAW Local 31. “We figured it was going to happen eventually, but it came as a surprise, given 20 minutes until it was time to go.”

In a statement, GM said the employees at the Fairfax plant will not go back to work until there are parts to work with. The statement also said GM does not think the Fairfax workers are eligible for SUB-pay, meaning GM doesn’t think the state will pay the Union Auto Workers unemployment.

“We’re not really sure if the state is going to pay us,” said Crabtree. “This is uncharted territory for our union, so they are still sorting things out, too, because it’s new for them, but I know they’ll come up with something and everything will be alright.”

“This isn’t our first contract, right? We were on strike four years ago,” said Pryor. “Local 31, we’re prepared. We’ve been preparing for this awhile.”

The Fairfax facility employs around 2,000 union workers. The one we talked to thinks the union and GM will come an agreement.

“I think the UAW is going to make it happen this time,” Crabtree said. “I think this is our time. I feel pretty confident about what’s going to happen.”

“We are following our president, Shawn Fain,” Pryor said. “When that call comes, we are ready to get off the bench and go for it.”

With pay in doubt, Local 31 has set up a food pantry at their headquarters. If you want to donate, you can bring non-perishable items to that location.