Luis Feliz Leon

This is a developing story and is being updated.

Auto workers at the Big 3 expanded their strike last Friday to a key vulnerability: parts distribution centers that supply dealerships with everything from water pumps to brake drums and spark plugs to replacement bumpers.

On Tuesday morning, General Motors began bringing in temps hired for $14 an hour to attempt to keep some of the parts and accessories flowing.

The clock has ticked and tocked for two of the Big 3 automakers. At noon 5,000 more members of the Auto Workers (UAW) at 38 parts distribution centers for Stellantis and General Motors walked off the job. The facilities are spread across 20 states.

The strike is on. Last night the Auto Workers (UAW) shut down three major assembly plants at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). It’s the first time in history the union has struck all three companies at once.

Tick, tock. At midnight the clock ran out, and auto workers massed on picket lines.

The first-ever simultaneous strike at the Big 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, Stellantis—started September 15 with 13,000 workers walking out of three assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. There are 146,000 Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Big 3.

The UAW is calling its strategy the “stand-up strike,” a nod to the Flint sit-down strike of 1936-1937 that helped establish the union.

Two days before their contract expires at midnight Thursday, the Auto Workers (UAW) are poised to strike the Big 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis—to recoup concessions made over the past two decades, end tiers, boost wages, and fight for a shorter workweek and other quality-of-life demands.

Lessons from Lively Picket Lines

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The heat was scorching in Louisville, Kentucky, last Thursday. But what the windless day lacked in gusts, it made up in guts.

The union-made placards read: “United for a Strong Contract.” That resonated with auto workers at Ford who hadn’t been part of a contract rally for as long as anyone can remember.

And the picket line came alive when they broke away from the tedious repetition of “Who’s got the power? We’ve got the power!” and used their own chants.

Five hundred Auto Workers (UAW) from Local 862 held rallies in Louisville, Kentucky, August 24 and 25, part of a wave of practice pickets and rallies around the country.

Class struggle was on everyone’s lips. A variety of issues brought them to the picket, but the auto workers there were unanimous about turbocharged wealth inequality leaving workers behind.

Sunday afternoon at the Auto Workers (UAW) Region 1 Pavilion in Warren, Michigan, felt a lot like church. Auto workers came together in sweltering heat to rally each other with fiery speeches, cheers, and songs in the first Big 3 contract rally anyone can remember.

The contracts with Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis expire September 14.

Some 323,000 U.S. workers have struck so far this year. Another 340,000 were in gear to strike, until their nationwide mobilization forced the company to concede. UPS Teamsters are voting on the deal through August 22.

Amazon warehouse worker Paul Blundell has spent the past year talking to his co-workers about how UPS Teamsters were getting organized to strike. So recently, he had big news to share: “A few days before the strike deadline, UPS caved.”

“Everybody’s jaw dropped” when they heard that night shift workers at the Philly UPS air hub will get an immediate raise to $24.75, Blundell said. “We top out around $20.90 after three years, so UPS is now starting well above that—with raises for the rest of the contract.”

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