DETROIT—The UAW declared a national strike against General Motors for the first time since 2007 as contentious negotiations over wages and benefits reached a stalemate.
The union said its roughly 46,000 hourly GM members walked off the line at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 15. Local television stations captured the beginning of the walkout just after midnight.
"This is our last resort," Terry Dittes, vice president of the UAW-GM department, told reporters earlier Sunday following a meeting of the unit's national council. "It represents great sacrifice and great courage on the part of our members and all of us."
A union spokesman said it was a unanimous vote to strike. Negotiations are set to resume at 10 a.m. on Sept. 16.
The strike caught the attention of President Trump, who tweeted: "Here we go again with General Motors and the United Auto Workers. Get together and make a deal!"
A source with knowledge of the negotiations said many of GM's proposals came very late Saturday night and that the two sides are far apart on many issues, having agreed in principle on just 2 percent of what's in a normal contract.
Dittes, in a letter to Scott Sandefur, GM's vice president of labor relations, expressed disappointment with the late offer—describing it as GM's "first serious offer."
"Had we received this proposal earlier in the process, it may have been possible to reach a tentative agreement and avoid a strike."
GM said in a statement that its offer to the UAW includes more than $7 billion in U.S. investments, higher pay and improved benefits. The offer includes more than 5,400 jobs, the majority of which would be new.
"We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. 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," the company said.
GM, without providing details, also said it has solutions for unallocated assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio. GM's offer also includes investments in eight facilities in four states and an introduction of electric trucks.
GM's offer to the UAW would allocate an electric truck to the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and battery cell manufacturing to the Lordstown Complex, according to a person familiar with the matter.
GM also offered workers a signing bonus of $8,000 per member if they ratify the deal, plus wage gains or lump-sum payments in all four years of the contract. The carmaker says it's offering to keep members' health-care contributions the same as in the current contract.
"The union is playing some hardball. It seems they are pretty far apart," said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the labor and economics group at the Center for Automotive Research. GM's offer "still doesn't address some of the union's demands."
Lost production may cost GM about $50 million a day in earnings before interest and taxes, Dan Levy, an analyst at Credit Suisse, wrote to clients.
"I want to be clear: this strike is about us," Ted Krumm, chairman of the union's UAW-GM national negotiations team, told journalists. "It's about standing up for fair wages, affordable quality health care, our share of profits, and job security. We are strong, we are ready. We don't take this lightly."
The Teamsters union said it would stand in solidarity with the UAW. A spokesman confirmed a Fox Business report saying roughly 1,000 Teamsters workers would refuse to deliver GM vehicles to dealerships as long as the UAW was on strike.