The United Auto Workers on Friday expanded its historic strike against the Detroit Three automakers, this time hitting 38 General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV parts distribution centers across the country.
The strike stands to shut down the two automakers' network of facilities that store and ship parts for dealers for sale to consumers and use in repair work.
The 38 plants is an eye-popping number, but it likely will have minimal effect on production, said Sheldon Klein, who represents auto suppliers for law firm Butzel Long.
"The aftermarket is the tail," he said. "The production operations is the dog. The impact on the companies is not as great as 38 plants suggests.
"As long as it doesn’t affect auto assembly, the impact on suppliers is limited at best. Suppliers don’t have to shut down their plants because they are not able to ship replacement headlights."
In the first week, the strike has resulted in an economic loss of more than $1.6 billion, according to estimates from East Lansing consulting firm Anderson Economic Group LLC, which has done business for GM and Ford.
The losses have been concentrated in Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana and Alabama from the walkouts and layoffs. A longer strike, according to the researchers, would spread losses to assembly and supplier plants as well as dealers across the country.
“Because the auto industry is highly integrated across suppliers and assembly plants, shutting down one plant will cause layoffs and shutdowns at other plants,” CEO Patrick Anderson said in a statement. “That includes supplier businesses, especially those that are dependent on a handful of contracts with the OEMs.”
The losses include to $107 million in lost direct wages and $511 million in company losses, according to the report. The industry economic loss, including at suppliers, is $1.174 billion. Industry consumer and dealer losses represent $470 million. The strike is expected to affect customer selection sooner than in the past, AEG Vice President Tyler Theile said in a statement
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