Nearly 13,000 U.S. auto workers went on strike early Friday after the Big Three and the United Auto Workers failed to reach an agreement before their national contract expired just before midnight. UAW President Shawn Fain called the targeted strike at a Ford Motor
plant in Michigan, a General Motors
plant in Missouri and a Stellantis NV
plant in Ohio. A strike at all three U.S. car makers is a break with tradition, as the union for many years has elected to center strike efforts at one company to protect its strike fund and picket-line firepower. Fain said the union could add more plants to strike as part of its strategy to keep the automakers guessing, and urged all 150,000 UAW members to be ready if and when they’re called to strike.
“This is our generation’s defining moment,” Fain said Thursday night as he addressed UAW workers by webcast two hours before the deadline. “The money is there. The cause is righteous.” Fain said the union is committed to a contract that reflects the “incredible sacrifices and contributions” that its members have made for years. The union has said wages for auto workers who make the top rate have risen about 6% over the past four years, while the three automakers’ North American profits have increased about 65% during that time. The union is asking for double-digit wage increases, an end to tiered wages and benefits, the restoration of pensions and cost-of-livi …