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Kokomo prepares for likely United Auto Workers strike

Union represents about 6,000 auto plant employees
Kokomo UAW Rally 2
Posted at 10:39 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 23:15:51-04

KOKOMO — The United Auto Workers union is a powerful presence in Kokomo. If the city's 6,000 auto plant workers go on strike against the Big Three automakers, the work stoppage could have a seismic affect on the city.

UAW President Shawn Fain announced Thursday night that Kokomo's workers would not be among the first local chapters to strike if a deal is not reached, but people in the city are still preparing for if the workers do walk out.

"It affects my friends and my family, and we're more than happy to help however we can," said Kyle Gibson, who owns the Coterie restaurant in downtown Kokomo. "They can take a load off while they're going through a hard time and not getting paychecks."

Kokomo's unionized workers make parts for Stellantis, the automaker responsible for the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands.

Gibson's restaurant raised money for the local UAW workers' strike fund hours before their rally at Foster Park Wednesday night. He said he will offer discounts to unionized workers if they strike and will support them every step of the way.

"You're making more money, pay them more," Gibson said. "Pay your people what they deserve. Without the little person, there's no big people. That's what it comes down to."