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About 49,000 General Motors workers walked off the job at midnight on Sunday as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union began a nationwide strike.
The move to strike, which the Wall Street Journal described as the first major stoppage at GM in more than a decade, came after the manufacturer's four-year contract with workers expired without an agreement on a replacement.
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Local union leaders met in Detroit 'and opted to strike at midnight on Sunday,' the UAW said on its Twitter account.
'This is our last resort,' Terry Dittes, the union's lead negotiator with GM, told a news conference after the meeting. 'We are standing up for the fundamental rights of working people in this country.'
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UAW officials said the two sides remained far apart in the contract negotiations, with disagreements on wages, health care benefits, the status of temporary workers and job security.
'Our members have spoken; we have taken action; and this is a decision we did not make lightly,' Ted Krumm, chair of the UAW's national bargaining committee, said in a statement.
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'We are standing up for what is right,' Krumm said.
Hours before the strike began, US President Donald Trump tweeted: 'Here we go again with General Motors and the United Auto Workers. Get together and make a deal!'
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GM's last major strike, according to the Journal, was in 2007 when 73,000 workers at more than 89 facilities walked off the job for two days.
In a statement, GM said it was 'disappointing' that the UAW's leadership had decided to call the strike, saying it had presented a 'strong offer' in contract negotiations.
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'We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business,'...
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