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UAW Strike Means Supplier Layoffs

As United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain prepares to give an update on labor-contract negotiations this afternoon, the UAW’s three-week-old strike at plants across the Midwest is hurting auto suppliers, according to The Washington Post (subscription).

What’s going on: “More than 3,000 supplier employees have been affected so far, a Washington Post tally shows, while an industry association says nearly 30 percent of its supplier members have resorted to layoffs.”

  • More than 60% of suppliers said they expected to begin layoffs this month. Others say these cuts could “broaden over time” if the strike continues
  • The strike has reverberated beyond the automotive sector, too. U.S. Steel recently announced 300 temporary layoffs after it was forced to idle an Illinois furnace because of the walkouts.

Why it’s important: “The [strike’s] fallout shows the outsize role the auto industry plays in the U.S. economy, to which it contributes about 3 percent of gross domestic product.”

  • What’s more, the widespread shuttering of smaller auto suppliers—which number in the thousands and are often the main source of employment in the areas where they operate—would make it harder for General Motors, Ford and Stellantis to resume normal operations after the strike.

Manufacturers say: “The longer the strike, the more likely thousands of citizens across Michigan will face layoffs, and not just UAW members,” John Walsh, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (an NAM state partner), wrote in The Detroit News (subscription).

  • “Layoffs, in turn, will affect restaurants, stores and local businesses. The economic impact will be felt throughout our families and our communities.”
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