Policy and Legal

NAM: Auto Worker Strike Would Harm Economy

As manufacturers continue to reel from supply chain disruptions, the NAM is calling for a swift resolution to forestall a potentially devastating United Auto Workers strike.

What’s going on: The UAW is negotiating a new labor agreement with important automotive manufacturers, as the current contract expires Sept. 14.

Why it’s important: The automotive manufacturing industry in the U.S. is one of the strongest and most productive in the world, and it significantly supports the health of the U.S. economy.

  • A strike of 143,000 UAW members against Detroit’s “Big Three” auto manufacturers could mean an economic loss of $5.617 billion after just 10 full days, according to a new report by Anderson Economic Group.
  • Nationwide, every $1 spent in the transportation-equipment sector causes another $1.59 to be spent elsewhere—for a total economic impact of $2.59, according to NAM calculations using 2021 IMPLAN data.
  • In 2022, the total value-added in motor vehicles and parts in the U.S. was $171.6 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

State-level impact: In 2019, a 42-day auto-worker strike at one of the Detroit manufacturers “sent the state of Michigan into a one-quarter recession” and resulted in an economic loss of $4.2 billion, according to reporting by The Detroit News.

  • As of 2021, the latest year for which this data is available, Michigan’s total output from motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing was $37.5 billion, accounting for 37% of total manufacturing output in the state, according to the BEA.
  • At the same time, Michigan had 175,745 full- and part-time employees in the sector, or 28.7% of all manufacturing employees in the state.
  • Meanwhile, the total output of Illinois’ auto sector accounted for 19.3% of the state’s total manufacturing output, while employment came to 23.6% of the state’s manufacturing employees.

Undermining manufacturing in the U.S.: “Manufacturers in America, especially in the automotive sector, operate in an integrated supply chain, which means that small and medium-sized manufacturers around the country—in union and non-union shops—would endure the consequences of a stoppage. As we continue to emerge from the global pandemic and work to get our economy on a sustainable track, a strike would be devastating for working families across our country,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

  • “President Biden has prioritized strengthening manufacturing in America, but that will be quickly undermined if a strike occurs. The administration should be encouraging a swift resolution to avoid ripple effects throughout the broader manufacturing economy and in communities from coast to coast.”
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