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UAW Local 167

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

On her first day of strike duty, Cindy Holmes looked up at a clear blue sky and saw a bald eagle soaring over the picket line.

“It was flying really low, and it was just circling around, soaring, it was just doing it’s thing, you know what I mean? It was like, ‘Ah, I’m cool.’”

It seemed like a promising sign on the first day of what would become a historic strike.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer stopped by a UAW picket line at a General Motors plant near Grand Rapids Thursday evening.

The governor and her team rolled up in black SUVs just before dusk. Whitmer posed for pictures, shook hands, and listened as workers described what’s at stake for them in the strike.

Nearly 50,000 workers have been on strike against GM since last month. They say they’re holding out for higher wages, and job security for temporary workers.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

At the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, just south of Grand Rapids, it’s nearly lunchtime for the workers walking the picket lines

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Inside the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, there are cases of bottled water stacked against the wall, bags of chips lined up along the table, and more donations coming in all the time.

“Good luck, keep up the good fight,” one woman says as she drops off more food for the striking workers.

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the support of the community,” says Willie Holmes, President of UAW Local 167. “They have just been stepping up left and right like you would not believe. I mean, every time I blink, here comes another truckload of food. Or just, somebody wants to come in and just donate their time.”