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UAW strike: what’s at stake

Advocacy News – Sept. 18, 2023

About 13,000 U.S. auto workers stopped making vehicles and went on strike at three plants early Friday after the UAW and Detroit’s Big Three Automakers – General Motors, Stellantis and Ford Motor Company – couldn’t find an agreement in contract talks.

The strike is expected to impact large segments of the economy – approximately 1.5 million American families and thousands of suppliers, auto dealers and small businesses. Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing, Michigan research firm, estimates a 10-day UAW strike against Big Three could cause economic losses exceeding $5 billion.

Why it matters: Detroit’s Big Three Automakers are critical to Michigan’s economy, so the strike creates significant uncertainty for the automakers, suppliers and local businesses that operate near auto-related plants – with an outsized impact on the middle class and working families too. It is unclear where things will go from here, but last week the Michigan Chamber joined the U.S. Chamber and others in the chamber federation in voicing its growing concern to President Biden.  However, Biden chose to side with the striking workers Friday, dispatching two of his top aides to Detroit and calling for the Big Three to share their profits with employees whose wages and benefits he said have been unfairly eroded for years. The UAW and the Big Three are continuing to negotiate, and we remain hopeful that a resolution can be found.  Automotive manufacturers have been working to avoid this strike offering generous compensation and significant benefit increases that have so far been rejected. We urge the Biden Administration to reconsider its position and use its executive authority to intervene before the strike spreads, which could further spike inflation, create chaos for the supply chain that has finally rebounded and take a big toll on our state’s families, communities, employers, and economy.

Go deeper: Click here to read the federation’s letter to President Biden. Read the Anderson Economic Group’s analysis here.