After a breakdown of contract talks in Detroit, the United Auto Workers union has called for a midnight nationwide strike against General Motors.
The walkout will pull more than 46,000 employees off the line across the United States, nearly seven thousand of them in Indiana.
GM’s largest Indiana facility is in Ft. Wayne, where a workforce of 4545 Hoosiers build pickup trucks.
The walkout will also affect plants in Marion, Kokomo and Bedford.
At the Bedford Casting Operations on GM Drive in Lawrence County, employees flashed thumbs up at the conclusion of first shift Sunday afternoon, uncertain of when they will be back on the job.
Members at UAW Local 440 headquarters in downtown Bedford said they couldn’t speak on the record pending the return from Detroit of their bargaining unit leadership.
One man described Bedford as his seventh stop on a tour that took him to GM plants throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, each time avoiding downsizing or factory closures.
Bedford is also home to parts suppliers that partially depend on GM orders to stay in business.
“A lot of peoples been worried for quite a while, so now I guess it’s finally here,” said Josh Moen, a quality control inspector who works quite literally outside the backdoor of the GM plant. “I’m just hoping it don’t have an effect on us.”
Moen said his company had stockpiled some parts meant for GM and diversified its customer base to get through any strike.
“Its gonna devastate a lot of families, especially if they go on strike, it’s gonna be hard to make ends meet. I don’t know how long it’s gonna last,” he said. “It would be hard. It would be hard. Car payments. Mortgage payments. Kids.”
The UAW is striking after the expiration of its current contract.
Wages, job security and health benefits are key components of any new deal.
The last time the UAW walked out on General Motors across the nation was 2007.
That strike last 17 hours.