The UAW/GM strike could have ripple effect throughout auto industry

Posted at 2:02 PM, Sep 24, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Automobile Workers (UAW) strike reached it's ninth day on Tuesday, as GM workers continued fighting for what they believe is their fair share.

But the future of cars is in question, leaving some companies on edge.

"GM is reluctant to commit to long-term obligations," said Andy Borchers, an associate dean of the College of Business at Lipscomb University.

Borchers worked in the auto industry in Detroit for more than 20 years, including many years at General Motors.

"'There's 50,000 workers at GM today. When I first started in the 70s, there were 850,000 workers," Borchers said.

Borchers said he can see why workers would strike and why GM would be hesitant to compromise, but when it comes to this strike, the implications could go beyond GM.

"For every job on the assembly line, there are going to be 5 to 7 jobs off the assembly line with the supplier firms and the various companies around town that support it," Borchers said.

There were reports of layoffs at supplier companies around the country Monday. Other workers at supplier companies said they hoped the UAW strike would end soon so they could return to business as usual.

Beyond the impact on other workers, other automakers may be effected by the UAW strike. Should a new deal result in better pay and healthcare for UAW members, non-union automakers like Toyota and Nissan may need to offer a more competitive wage to their own workers.

"They have to kind of follow along with some of the items or else, if there's too much disparity than workers at those places will go union," Borchers said.

Borchers said he believes the average person likely won't be impacted by the strike. There were plenty of cars in stock when the strike started, and the majority of jobs in the United States are not related to the auto industry.

"Our economy is so well balanced that a strike of this type for two or three weeks is for most of us not really going to have a major impact," Borchers said.

UAW representatives were continuing their talks with GM as of Monday, but no agreements had been reached.

This story was originally published by Jesse Knutson on WTVF in Nashville.