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An Event 30 Years in the Breaking

The end of the beginning of the end for Detroit begins like this:

DETROIT (AP) -- Workers walked off the job and began picketing Monday outside some General Motors Corp. plants after a late morning United Auto Workers strike deadline passed, but the union's national leadership hadn't publicly announced whether a strike had begun.

The UAW had extended its contract for nine days after it expired on Sept. 14, but the negotiations became bogged down Sunday, apparently over the union's quest to protect jobs by getting the company to guarantee that new vehicles would be built in U.S. factories.

The UAW hasn't called a nationwide strike during contract negotiations since 1976, when Ford Motor Co. plants were shut down. There were strikes at two GM plants during contract negotiations in 1996.

The good news is, GM won't be producing any money-losing cars during the strike - and pretty much every car they build is a money-loser. The bad news is, GM doesn't have any cash to spare. Bigger, better, deeper analysis here.

It's not quite time to say, "So long UAW, hello Chapter 11." But GM just took a big step in that direction.