This article is a joint publication of Workday Magazine and In These Times. Workers walked off their shifts on September 14 at midnight to cheering crowds, as the United Auto Workers launched its first simultaneous strike against the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The initial work stoppages were not company-wide, but instead targeted at three locations: GM’s Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., just outside Detroit. The plants employ some 12,700 of the roughly 150,000 UAW members who work for the Big Three. The strike strategy, developed under the leadership of reform challenger Shawn Fain, was defined by its element of surprise.