Race and Ethnicity team contributors Corey Williams and Aisha Jefferson pitched a story about what union membership has meant to generations of Black families within days of United Auto Workers’ announcement that members would walk off the job at a Ford plant in Michigan. Auto worker jobs have long been a pillar of the Black middle class in America, and the duo examined how the fight for higher wages have had deep significance for Black workers.

Williams, a Detroit-based newsperson, and Chicago-based text editor Aisha Jefferson highlighted the legacy and looked at multiple Black families on the picket lines as the strike grew beyond the initial Ford plant. Williams and Jefferson found families willing to divulge complex stories about how auto work and union membership put the so-called American Dream within reach — an economic security that has eluded many Black Americans.

The result was a deeply reported and insightful look at why so many Black autoworkers supported the UAW strikes. AP photographer Carlos Osorio shot fresh images to accompany the text story, and video from Mike Householder rounded out the multiformat package.