LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The strikers on the picket line have their own worries as they ponder what impact all this is going to have on their families.

If the two sides don’t reach an agreement soon many will need to tighten their belt.

A local economic researcher contends the whole future of the U.S. auto industry is also at risk.

Where consumers could buy other non-union-made vehicles from competitors of the Big Three automakers. Patrick Anderson, principal of and CEO of East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, foresees a combustible dilemma.

“American consumers have a lot of alternatives here,” Anderson said. “Alternatives built in Georgia, Alabama, Texas and California by non-union plants like Honda and Tesla.”

This means the Big Three could lose market share to competitors, with consumers not buying as frequently from GM, Ford or Stellantis.

The UAW president is demanding the recreation of the jobs bank, whereby laid-off autoworkers get a check for “community service,” and UAW President Shawn Fain wants to go back to a defined benefit pension system.

Anderson predicts both programs could catapult the automakers back into bankruptcy, as happened in the years leading up to 2009.

“We had a jobs bank,” Anderson said. “It was one of those things that drove GM and Chrysler to bankruptcy.

“And the second one is a defined benefit package. That’s something that is a bankruptcy risk,” Anderson said.

And even if non-autoworkers are at risk if the strike wears on because the economy could down and Mr. and Mrs. Average Consumer could see that with higher prices for goods and services.