SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Friday morning Steve Ferguson woke up and made one of the hardest decisions of his life, then got in his Chevy pickup truck and drove to a mobile food pantry that drew hundreds in Spring Hill.
Ferguson and his wife LaCrystal Robertson are some of the thousands out of work right now because of the ongoing UAW strike with General Motors. The newly married couple has four kids at home and saved up enough money to make it through the strike for a few weeks. But as contract talks continue to drag on, this father of four decided it was time to ask for help.
“I didn’t plan to be here. But I’m worried about how long this will go on for. And we have the kids,” he said standing in line outside the Spring Hill High School.
Typically this mobile food pantry draws a few dozen families. But with so many people in Maury County being impacted by the strike, more than 200 people were standing in line to get food.
Many of them had just come from the picket line at the General Motors plant just a mile up the road.
Most members of the United Auto Workers are getting a $250 check per week from the union, barely enough for striking workers to get by on especially those who have children or spouses. On Tuesday, The Well food pantry in Spring Hill saw its busiest day ever with more than 40 families coming in to get help, most of them were UAW workers on strike.
“We’ve never seen this many people before. And most of them are new faces. Families who are struggling because of the strike,” said Shelly Sassen, who serves at the Executive Director of The Well. "These are normal, middle-class families that have never been to a food pantry before. And it's not just GM workers but people who work for all the sister companies that support GM."
A humbling experience. We’ve watched nearly 200 families go through a mobile food pantry here in Spring Hil, Tennessee. Most of them are UAW workers on strike who are running out of food at home. Many told me they’ve now missed rent and mortgage payments. pic.twitter.com/hpjLHBicNc— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) October 11, 2019
With more people coming through their doors, The Well is struggling to keep some of their shelves stocked. They are hoping members of the community will donate food as the GM strike continues to drag on.
"We're just low on food right now," Sassen said.
Contract talks aimed at ending the 26-day strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors continued this week after United Auto Workers union bargainers rejected a company offer on Sunday.
On Friday, GM sent a letter to employees updating the state of negotiations with the union.