DETROIT — The United Auto Workers went on strike early Friday at Ford Motor Co.'s Bronco plant in Wayne, Michigan, Stellantis NV's Jeep Wrangler plant in Toledo, Ohio, and a General Motor Co. plant in Wentzville, Missouri, as a deadline set by the union to reach new contracts expired.
The walkouts involving 12,900 workers mark the first time in the union's more than 80-year history that it has struck all three Detroit automakers at once.
Moments after the strike started at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant, union President Shawn Fain arrived at the UAW Local 900 hall to much fanfare. Thousands of UAW members and journalists swarmed the union leader, who answered questions before leading the crowd on a short march across Michigan Avenue to stand directly in front of Michigan Assembly Plant. "This union is making history," he said. "This is our time."
Fain said he expected to be back at the bargaining table with the automakers on Saturday. He's scheduled to appear at a rally Friday afternoon in downtown Detroit with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
When the union's contracts expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the UAW launched strikes involving 12,900 workers against all three Detroit automakers for the first time in the union's more than 80-year history.
The plants struck by the union produce popular midsize trucks, off-roading SUVs and commercial vans. Workers in final assembly and paint shop only walked out at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. It makes the Ranger midsize pickup and the Bronco off-roading SUV and employs about 4,600 hourly workers, according to Ford's website. Local 900 in Region 1A represents those members.
Outside the Toledo Assembly Complex, local political leaders and fellow autoworkers clapped and cheered, yelling "Here we go!" as the first UAW members walked and drove out of the plant along I-75 shortly after midnight.
It was bittersweet taking those steps, said Joyce Jones, 51, of Toledo, a 10-year UAW member who works in quality inspection.
"It was sad, but it'll be worth it," she said while holding a strike sign in front of a gate off Stickney Avenue. "It's shameful the CEOs are not willing to give their workers what we deserve. We have TPTs (temporary part-time or supplemental workers) who have been part-time for five or six years. They need to be rolled over."
Jacquel McNeal, 30, of Toledo is one such supplemental worker. January would mark three years for her. She is paid $17.53, and as a single mother, supports four children ages ranging 7 to 13.
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