Health experts: UAW strike could take a toll on mental health

Mental health experts say the impact of a strike can take a toll on their mental health.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When workers hit the picket line to strike, they stopped getting paid. Health experts say the impact of a strike can take a toll on their mental health.

UAW Local 12 workers are in the thick of the battle fighting for increased pay. It’s a fight that’s not for the faint of heart.

”Just wasn’t able to save a lot. So, with the $499 strike pay, I’m worried about if I’m going to be able to pay my bills and put food on the table for my son. My wife, she’s only got a part-time job as well. We can’t even get him into daycare at the moment,” UAW worker Anthony Minauro said.

Minauro said he’s worked at the plant part-time for four years.

“I’m in therapy at the moment. So, I can I talk to my therapist about it, but I’ve already talk to her about it before the strike came. I was already nervous about it,” Minauro said.

He’s not alone, Rachel Ferguson is on the picket line babysitting her daughter while supporting her husband. She says it’s stressful.

“My husband is the primary breadwinner in our family. So, he usually pays most of the bills. I’m at home with our daughter. So it’s just a lot of not knowing how long we’re going to be out there right now,” Rachel Ferguson said. 

Dr. Peggy McKnight-Wilson runs the UAW Local 14 employee assistance program. She says labor disputes can have a negative impact on workers’ mental health. Depression, anxiety, and irritation are just some of the emotions that workers may be dealing with at this time.

“The main thing is not to isolate yourself. The other thing is if you’re having some kind of problem, that’s what we have resources for,” Dr. Peggy McKnight-Wilson said. ”Because they’re where we were four years ago, we do understand what they are going through and so now it’s a matter of trying to be helpful to the ones that are on the line now knowing that we may be going ourselves in a matter of days.”

Workers are leaning on each other. They say they will continue to stand up and stand strong until a deal is made

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