UAW President Sean Fine announced a targeted strike plan Wednesday if the union decides to walk away from General Motors, Ford and Stellantis after the contract expires late Thursday.

Fine said details of the plan, including which plants would be hit, would not be announced until before the contract expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. He said that this step would give the union maximum influence at the negotiating table.

A targeted strike could shut down each company’s operations, depending on which plants and facilities are hit. Companies operate a complex network of factories that rely on sourcing spare parts from different facilities.

Slowing or halting production of a few engine or transmission plants at each company could be as effective in stopping operations as a complete strike at all plants, according to industry experts.

One engine or transmission location per company could be enough to shutter nearly three-quarters of U.S. assembly plants, said Jeff Schuster, global head of automotive at GlobalData, an industry consulting firm.

“Two factories per company, you can pretty much keep North America idle,” he said.

One of the advantages of a targeted strike union is the possibility of saving resources and expanding the scope of a potential strike. Striking union members are entitled to $500 weekly in strike benefits from the union’s strike fund.

If all 145,000 UAW members among the three automakers went on strike at the same time, it could cost the fund more than $70 million a week, depleting the $825 million fund.

Through targeted strikes, it is possible for companies to shut down operations and lay off members who are not technically on strike. This could make them eligible for state unemployment benefits instead of strike benefits, which could conserve union resources. But there are legal questions about qualifying for unemployment.

Spokespeople for Ford and Stellantis, which makes vehicles under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. GM’s statement did not address what it plans to do if its operations are disrupted by a targeted strike.

“We continue to negotiate directly and in good faith with the UAW and have made additional strong offers. We are making progress in the key areas we believe are most important to our representative team members. This includes guaranteed historic annual wage increases, and investments in our U.S. manufacturing plants to provide opportunities for everyone, and shorten the time needed for… employees to reach maximum wages.”

Fine told members that the three automakers had raised their pay rise offers to between 17.5% and 20% over the life of the contract, but he said that was still not enough. The union had originally requested an immediate 20% pay increase and four additional 5% pay increases.

Fine told members Wednesday that it will be important for members to stay on the job if their plant is not selected to strike to give union negotiators as much power as possible at the bargaining table.

“This will create confusion for businesses. It will strengthen the power of our negotiators,” he told members. “I know there is a desire to (have all members) go on strike. This might still happen. “This was not done on a whim.”

Targeted strikes too could It comes with risks. Fine said workers who remain on the job will be hired on an expiring contract and that the union is not offering those struck companies an extension. Companies are not obligated to pay wages to employees working under an expired contract.

“Letting your contract lapse and then making strategic strikes is a very risky strategy because when you don’t have a contract, your employer doesn’t have it either. There’s no obligation for them to hire you,” said Patrick Anderson, founder of Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan-based firm that analyzes Financial impacts of decades-long strikes: “It’s an escalation, not a de-escalation.”

John Hatlin, who worked at GM for 49 years and has seen his fair share of strikes, told CNN he believes targeted strikes could work.

“We have used targeted strategies in the past. They have proven effective in helping resolve our contract disputes,” said Hatlin, who works at GM’s Zero plant in Detroit, which makes all-electric vehicles. “It saves draining our strike fund.” And without a fund “A big strike, our bargaining power goes down. When you get into a contract dispute, you have to be willing to last a day longer than the company. Or all the sacrifices are for nothing.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

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