With the UAW strike against General Motors now in its 24th day, the protest is beginning to have a negative effect on industries not directly related to the automotive sector, such as trucking and food service.
The New York Times published an article this week highlighting the nationwide ripple effect of the UAW strike. Trucking and logistics companies with contracts to ship parts from GM suppliers to the automaker’s factories have been hit particularly hard. Wael Tlaib, owner of Phoenix Transit & Logistics in Dearborn, Michigan, told NYT that he has had to dip into his personal savings to keep his company afloat. He had to lay off nearly all of his employees last month after the strike forced him to park all of its trucks and trailers at its company lot, awaiting an agreement between the union and largest American automaker.
“I might lose the business next week,” Tlaib told the newspaper.
NYT also spoke to Tom Beaubien, who runs Italian restaurant Luigi’s, which is located a short drive from GM supplier Lear’s factory in Flint. His restaurant is typically full of Lear employees, but with the plant idled due to the strike, the restaurant’s business has slowed to a crawl.
“After one week without pay, everybody starts to suffer, from McDonald’s all the way to Luigi’s Restaurant,” Beaubien told the publication.
Art Luna, the owner of Martus Luna Food Pantry in Flint, Michigan, told NYT he had more than two-dozen people lined up outside of his non-profit food bank on a rainy night last week, most of which had been laid off from their jobs at nearby suppliers due to the UAW strike.
A Reuters report published Tuesday cited Anderson Economic Group data that found nearly 150,000 U.S. workers had been affected by the strike in some way, with 75,000 auto parts suppliers having been temporarily laid off or seen their wages cut due to the ongoing walkout. The same report claimed the strike has so far led to $155 million in lost federal income and payroll tax revenue, with $9.1 million in lost income tax revenue in Michigan alone.
UAW GM president Terry Dittes released a letter Tuesday night indicating the union had made little progress with GM, which refuses to keep the Detroit-Hamtramck plant open and re-open the Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio.
“The lack of commitment by GM to our UAW-GM locations has weighed heavily on all of us trying to get the best contract for you and your families,” the letter said. “We have openly told GM that we do not see a solid commitment to this talented and skilled workforce that has made them billions of dollars in profits. We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are made in other countries for the purpose of selling them here in the U.S.A. We believe that the vehicles GM sells here should be built here. We don’t understand GM’s opposition to this proposition.”