WHITE MARSH, Md. (WJZ) — Local members of the United Auto Workers Union showed their support Friday for General Motors employees striking across the country.

People picketed at the closed GM plant in White Marsh earlier Friday morning, part of a nationwide movement of more than 48,000 GM employees striking across the country.

That strike began September 16, as workers seek job security as well as what they consider fair wages and health care.

Many of the workers at the White Marsh plant were laid off when it closed in May. Others were offered relocation packages.

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“All these years we’ve been loyal to GM. We want GM to make money, but, at the end of the day, what about us, the workers who make the product?” asked Jeff Beard with the United Auto Workers Local 239.

The strike is the first work stoppage in the U.S. auto industry in 12 years.

Despite the White Marsh plant already being closed, protesters set up outside calling for it to be reopened.

“We’re striking to get work for our plant, to get wage increases, to get temporary workers made into permanent workers,” said union member Guy White.

Some workers like Beard are set to relocate next month to a plan in Indiana. He points to GM CEO Mary Barra’s compensation as a sign of the inequality between rank-and-file workers and management.

“How is it fair for this woman to make $11,400 an hour? Now a week, not a month, an hour! And all we’re asking for is pennies,” Beard said.

A number of other organized labor members and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski joined the demonstration Friday.

Olszewski said he’d like to see the local plant reopen.

“After years of generating record-breaking profit for General Motors, I’m proud to stand here in solidarity with my brothers in and sisters in labor,” he said.

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is set to join workers on the picket line Saturday afternoon.

In a statement, GM said its goal remains “to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business.”

Paul Gessler

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