ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The United Auto Workers strike that began Friday could be a significant historical moment for the union and car manufacturers.

Matthew Daley, a Grand Valley State University history professor, said the action demonstrates growing frustrations from workers following challenges during and after the pandemic.

“The disruptions and all of the other issues that have gone on has really sparked a lot more activism within the UAW’s ranks. They want to find a stronger place,” Daley said.

Targeting all three automakers at the same time may be a new strategy, but Daley says taking a more aggressive approach is nothing new.

“The tactics are calling back to older tactics. Not just doing a typical picket line,” Daley said. “They are trying something a little bit more direct and that will probably go to the courts and there will be a lot of issues with that.”

In recent years, the UAW would target one manufacturer and the others would match the agreements.

“The tactic has now become to be viewed as maybe not as effective as it could be, so you’re going to try to hit all of them and that is relatively new to really do that. It takes a lot to be able to get that sort of coordination and that sort of timing,” Daley said.

Daley says this UAW strike could go down in the history books in line along some notable ones, like in the Flint sit-down strike of the 1930s, when workers refused to leave the plant.

“If the industry wanted to send in police or other sorts of security officials, it would cause a big mess and be very damaging and so it was eventually ruled illegal. But it was also very, very tense. You had a lot of direct confrontation,” Daley said.

The UAW is becoming more tech-savvy, streaming speeches live and responding to contract offers on the internet. One of those videos showed the president of the union throwing away a Stellantis contract offer.

“It’s sort of harking back to a much more activist period of the UAW’s effort rather than this sort of, ‘Yes, we’re on strike, we’ll negotiate,’ and pretty much everybody knows after a couple weeks we’re going to get this outcome. This … feels a little different than in the past,” Daley said.