The ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) strike has reportedly cost the U.S. economy nearly $4 billion so far, according to a new analysis. Now entering its 18th day, the UAW is striking at all three of the Big Detroit automakers (GM, Ford, and Stellantis), a first for the labor union. The UAW has expanded its strike twice since walkouts began last month.
According to Michigan-based economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, the UAW strike has resulted in $325 million in lost wages, $1.12 billion lost between GM, Ford and Stellantis, $1.29 billion lost to suppliers, and $1.2 billion lost for dealers and customers, bringing the grand total to about $3.9 billion.
It’s estimated that the UAW’s strike expansions are resulting in rising average losses with each subsequent week. The UAW initially announced that it was striking following the expiration of previous labor contracts on September 14th, targeting all three of the Big Detroit automakers, including the GM Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri. The UAW is using a targeted strike strategy wherein autoworkers at certain facilities are called on to walkout, as opposed to all UAW members at all facilities.
The week following the initial walkouts, the UAW targeted 38 parts distribution sites belonging to GM and Stellantis, opting not to expand its strike against Ford, citing substantial progress in contract talks with Ford. Finally, last week, the UAW expanded the strike again, this time targeting the GM Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan and Ford’s Chicago Assembly plant in Illinois, opting not to expand the strike against Stellantis, citing more substantial progress with Stellantis.
“Suppliers were particularly hard-hit by the UAW’s strategy of announcing specific plants to be struck just hours before they were shut down,” said AEG CEO Patrick Anderson in a statement. “The shutdown of 38 parts distribution centers also crimped dealership service operations and, of course, caused more UAW workers to lose wages.”
It’s estimated that of the 146,000 autoworkers employed across all three of the Big Detroit makes, 25,300 UAW members are currently on strike.
The strikes have resulted in GM furloughing workers, with the automaker citing a lack of work stemming from the UAW walkouts. GM recently furloughed more than 160 workers at the automaker’s Parma, Ohio Metal Center and Mario, Indiana Metal Center, and previously idled production at the GM Fairfax plant in Kansas.