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UAW Eyes Next Strike Targets as Parts Shortages Begin to Hit (Bloomberg)

Published September 20, 2023


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Bloomberg News

The article below is sourced from Bloomberg Wire Service. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the Bloomberg Wire Service and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NADA.

The United Auto Workers weighed an expansion of its strikes against Detroit’s automakers on Tuesday, after union President Shawn Fain said more plants faced walkouts if carmakers didn’t sweeten their offers. 

The union will have a Facebook Live event Friday at 10 a.m. local time in Detroit, where it will likely discuss whether more plants will join the strike, a person familiar with the discussions said. 

“Either the Big Three get down to business and work with us to make progress in negotiations, or more locals will be called on to stand up and go out on strike,” Fain said late Monday in a video. 

Representatives for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, the maker of Jeep and Chrysler models, said that bargaining continued on Tuesday. 

The new deadline raises the stakes for talks between three of the biggest automakers in the US and the union representing 146,000 of their workers. Friday will mark one week since the UAW called its first-ever walkout across all three of the legacy Detroit manufacturers.

The Biden administration continued to monitor the strike negotiations Tuesday, but said that acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House adviser Gene Sperling would not yet be traveling to Detroit to help the two sides. President Joe Biden had said last week that he would send the two officials. 

Following reports that Former President Donald Trump plans to visit Detroit to court striking workers on Sept. 27, the day of the second Republican primary debate, Fain issued a statement Tuesday in response. 

“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,’ he said in the statement.

On Tuesday, Stellantis’ North American chief operating officer Mark Stewart told CNBC said his company has inventory on hand to offset the strike’s impact. But S&P Global Mobility has estimated that the strike is costing the companies output of about 3,200 vehicles a day.

Rob Smith, executive vice president at Rockville, Maryland-based Fitzgerald Auto Mall, which has more than a dozen dealerships in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania, said his facilities have already experienced some inventory shortages, “especially with Chevy.” 

“The bigger concern is parts for when customers need repairs,” he said. “Our service department, which is having a robust year, is being affected.” 

Smith said in previous times when output from UAW-staffed factories have been impacted, he has tried to overorder parts he knew would be needed. He is hopeful that the UAW strike will be resolved soon. 

“We all had disruptions during Covid,” he said, “we don’t need any more.”

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