Strike leaders' tears no comfort for jobless

Related story: "Gettlefinger stymied by UAW-AAM strike failure"

When words failed, tears told the story. In the recent American Axle Manufacturing & Holdings Inc. strike, news accounts duly reported main elements of the labor dispute: company demands for deep pay cuts and reduced benefits for workers and - when concessions weren't enough - orders to close Buffalo and Tonawanda plants at the cost of 1,400 jobs.

In their impersonal and objective way, the reports failed to capture the shattered emotions and dashed dreams of rank-and-file workers and union leaders during the 87 days the UAW strike lasted from Feb. 26 to May 22.

The experience created a recurring nightmare for them, say United Auto Workers union officials George Jemiolo, Scott Adams and Kevin Donovan. They led the union bargaining team in negotiating a new strike-ending, four-year contract.


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