UAW member killed by vehicle while picketing against GM in Tennessee

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Striking United Auto Workers members and supporters attend a speech by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders outside General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant on Sept. 25, 2019 in Detroit.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

DETROIT — A United Auto Workers member was struck and killed while picketing Tuesday morning outside a General Motors assembly plant in Tennessee, according to local law enforcement.

Lt. Jeremy Haywood of the Columbia Police Department confirmed the accident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. on a public road by the entrance of an overpass that leads to GM’s Spring Hill Assembly plant.

The UAW identified the deceased as Roy A. McCombs, who it said “tragically lost his life today on a picket line standing up for a better life for himself and his coworkers.” It didn’t disclose any other details about him.

“Today’s accident is heartbreaking for UAW Spring Hill members. We will continue to work to ensure that safety is a priority on the picket line,” said the union, which is now in the 37th day of its strike against the company over contract negotiations. Members have until Saturday to vote on a deal reached last week. 

The vehicle that struck McCombs is not believed to have been a work vehicle with the company, according to Haywood, whose department responded to the accident. He declined to release the victim’s name or any other additional details, as the investigation is ongoing.

GM, in an emailed statement, said it is “deeply saddened” by the fatal accident involving one of its workers.

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the employee’s family and all who are impacted by this tragedy,” the company said. “General Motors is committed to employee safety and plant leadership is working closely with authorities to investigate and understand what happened.”

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