The 2-day-old nationwide strike against General Motors by the United Auto Workers union was already being felt across borders on Tuesday, threatening production in Mexico and shutting down Canadian plants, as both sides resumed bargaining.
More than 73,000 UAW-represented factory workers walked picket lines in the first national strike against the top U.S. automaker since 1970.
The strike began on Monday after 10 weeks of contract talks seen as crucial to GM's survival as it restructures money-losing U.S. operations and tries to free itself from a health-care obligation of more than $50 billion.
The impact from the UAW-ordered shutdown of more than 80 GM facilities in the United States hit GM's plants in Canada and Mexico, which are closely aligned to the U.S. operations and depend on them for some auto parts.
Two GM plants in Ontario, Canada, shut down due to the strike, with the company reviewing the status of another plant, a GM spokesman for Canada said.
GM employs some 17,000 workers in Canada who could face layoffs because of the walkout. Canadian Auto Workers union President Buzz Hargrove said Monday up to 100,000 Canadian workers could be out of a job if the U.S. strike drags on.
GM's production at three Mexican plants could be hit because of a pledge by the Teamsters union to stop hauling the company's vehicles across the border into the U.S. market.
Workers at GM facilities continued to picket Tuesday with signs that read "UAW on Strike."
"No one wants to see GM hurt, no one wants to see them go down the tubes," said Jim Brown, 58, a 38-year veteran of GM, who was picketing in Flint, Mich. "But we have to keep our standard of living and GM is going to have to cooperate."
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told WJR radio in Detroit on Tuesday that the strike may bring a quicker end to the impasse between GM and the union.
"Obviously, we did not want to strike, but that's what was required and in many ways it may be a good thing because it'll bring an end to this thing quicker, we hope," Gettelfinger told the radio station.
The UAW has said the automaker pushed the union into striking by not showing a willingness to meet it half way on crucial issues such as job security.
Gettelfinger had cautioned on Monday that the UAW had no intention of suspending the strike before an agreement was reached.