PHOTO: PAT HAYES / LOCAL 249
It wasn’t easy, but more than 300 UAW Local 710 members at Challenge Manufacturing in Kansas City, Missouri, have their first contract signed and ratified – with an assist from their brothers and sisters in UAW Region 5.
It took a three-week strike to finally win the contract at Challenge, a Michigan-based company that located a stamping facility in Kansas City,
Missouri, to supply the nearby General Motors’ Fairfax (Kansas) Assembly Plant.
“We congratulate UAW members of Local 710 at Challenge Manufacturing on their first contract after difficult negotiations,” said UAW President Dennis Williams.
“We welcome Challenge Manufacturing members into the Region 5 UAW family,” said Gary Jones, director of UAW Region 5, which includes Kansas and Missouri.
Members at Challenge discovered that solidarity among themselves and with fellow UAW members from different locals can bring gains on the job. The contract, which was ratified Feb. 23 on a vote of 195-1, includes pay increases that bring workers’ wages up to par with other Challenge facilities, and improved health and safety and health care.
“I would like to thank UAW Local 31 (representing workers at GM’s Fairfax plant) and UAW Local 249 (representing workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City Assembly Plant) along with the many friends and family of UAW Local 710 who aided members on the picket line,” Jones said.
The regional director also thanked UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada for her great work helping to reach a contract that is fair for Challenge workers and the surrounding community.
“Challenge Manufacturing workers stuck together through difficult bargaining to achieve their first contract,” said Estrada. “The solidarity they demonstrated led to significant economic gains and workplace protections.”
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