DETROIT – Friday was a day of marching, chanting, and horns honking as the United Auto Workers took to the streets in Downtown Detroit for a strike rally.
Just before then, UAW President Shawn Fain spoke about how more workers could be heading to the picket lines if nothing good comes from the bargaining table.
In the shadow of General Motors world headquarters and Huntington Place, where the auto show kicked off its public portion Friday with the charity preview, thousands of UAW workers marched up and down Jefferson Avenue.
“It was a little bit nervous today, first thing in the morning, but we talked it out, and everybody understands what’s going on,” said UAW worker Bill Bagwell.
Most of them were up all night, starting at Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant on the picket line and then going to their shifts.
When asked about the atmosphere inside the plants on Friday, UAW worker Bill Bagwell said it was a little nervous.
“It was a little bit nervous first thing in the morning, but we talked it out, and everybody understands what was going on,” said Bagwell.
The UAW Ford building had a laundry list of politicians who came out to fire up the crowd, but Senator Bernie Sanders received the most love.
“Every worker in America, be it white collar, blue collar, in between, has got to stand with the UAW and your struggle for justice,” said Sanders.
But it was Fain who got the hero’s welcome.
“UAW friends and family, there’s only one thing left to do when I asked if you were ready to rumble, you all said you were,” said Fain.
To say that Fain has energized his membership doesn’t give it enough credit as he has resurrected it.
“I’ve been a union rep for 24 years, and this is the first time I actually feel like the people downtown have our back,” said UAW worker Derek Moczulski.
“When they tell us to shut up, we stand up,” Fain said.