Workers closed 33 manufacturing plants in nine states of the United States, as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses.
At first it was not clear how long the strike would last. The union said that General Motors it has barely yielded in the months of negotiations, while the company said it has made considerable offers, such as salary increases and investments in factories.
It is the first national strike of the union since the two-day work stoppages in 2007, which had little impact on the company.
In a big plant on the border between Detroit and the small town of Hamtramck, the workers from General Motors Sunday custodians joined the janitors hired by Aramark who were already on the pickets.
Worker Patty Thomas said she had not been summoned to the picket, but had come to support her colleagues at the car plant, which General Motors wants to close
Thomas said he heard that the company could maintain the factory open and start building electric pickup trucks there, but she was skeptical.
The worker said the employees had given up wage increases that would have maintained their purchasing level to help General Motors during your process bankruptcy, and that now that the company has benefits, the workers want to recover some of the lost money.
Night shift workers in a factory of aluminum parts in Bedford, Indiana, turned off their machines and left the premises, said Dave Green, an employee who received a transfer from the now closed factory from cars Small in Lordstown, Ohio.
Green, who was president of the local union, said he agreed with the strike for salaries, close of factories and other reasons.
"If we don't fight now, when are we going to fight?" He asked. “This is not about us. It's about the future. "
The vice president of UAWTerry Dittes, the union's chief negotiator, said the strike It was the last resort, but necessary because the two parties are far from being able to close a new four-year agreement. The union, he said, doesn't take a strike lightly.
"We clearly understand the hardships it can cause," he said. "We are defending fair wages, we are defending affordable quality healthcare, we are asking for our share of the benefits."
But nevertheless, General Motors said he has offered salary increases and 7 billion investments in factories in U.S, which would include creating 4,500 new jobs, of which a small part would be filled with employees of the firm.
The firm also said it had offered a wider distribution of benefits, health coverage “leaders in the country” and a timely payment of 8 thousand dollars to all workers.
As the public statements of the two banks contradict each other, it is difficult to know how long the strike will last, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of employment and industry at the Center for Automotive Research, a group of industry studies automotive. The duration "depends on how far they are away and where the limits have been set," he said.