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Autoworkers take pride in their work that rolls off the assembly line

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For six days, autoworkers at three plants have been on strike over pay. And as negotiations stall, the big three automakers - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis - are temporarily laying people off. The people that make our vehicles say they want to be paid more fairly. So we reached out to some autoworkers to talk about what they do.

ADELPHIA LYLES: My name is Adelphia Lyles, and I work at General Motors. I work at Flint Assembly, and we assemble the entire truck. We build the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

She started working at GM in 2012.

ADELPHIA LYLES: I am a regular assembly-line worker. I work in the trim department. You have your different departments of your plant, and that's all the extra little details that you don't think about. So I put on something that goes outside of the window and some things that go under the hood.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, Lyles' plant isn't on strike yet, but the United Auto Workers union is threatening to expand the strike on Friday.

ADELPHIA LYLES: I support our union, and I'm hoping that as soon as possible they're able to reach an agreement so that we can all be on the same page. And let's just keep building cars.

FADEL: The hours may be long, but she loves her job.

ADELPHIA LYLES: I have a sense of pride every time I see one of the vehicles that I helped build out on the road doing what they're designed to do.

FADEL: This work, well, it's in her blood.

ADOLPHUS LYLES: I am a GM retiree with 43.2 years of service.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Adelphia's dad, Adolphus Lyles.

FADEL: He remembers a different time when workers like him and his daughter could afford to support a family on the income from making cars.

ADOLPHUS LYLES: You know, in the past, people thought UAW peoples could afford the product that they building. Nowadays on their wage and stuff like that, when it took you six and seven years to pay for the product that you're building, you can't be keeping up, especially when you look at it from the point of view of the upper, upper executives making $20 million bonuses. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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