Jamie L. LaReau Detroit Free Press Published 6:00 AM EDT Sep 10, 2019 UAW member Kenneth Mefford has a vivid memory of the 2015 contract negotiations. He almost walked off the assembly line onto a picket line. It was one minute before midnight on the expiration date of the union’s contract. Workers had heard nothing on whether a new tentative deal had been struck. “Everything stopped. We all stopped working,” said Mefford, who works at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Warren Truck Assembly plant in Warren. “We were looking around at each other as to what do we do?” So Mefford and his co-workers started walking off the job, he said. Then, in what he describes as “a scene in a movie,” a team leader came running in the plant. She yelled: ‘Don’t walk out! Don’t walk out! Don’t walk off the line! They got a tentative contract!’ ” “There was a minute to go,” Mefford said. “They had the signs printed and what the times were for us to report for a strike. They literally signed a deal a minute before we were ready to walk off.” Mefford and other veteran UAW members suspect the rank-and-file will face acute anxiety again this year at 11:59 p.m. Saturday because if, by midnight, there’s no tentative deal… Read full this story
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