LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The strike by the United Auto Workers union against the nation’s Big 3 automakers is now in its sixth day.
And Union President Shawn Fain is ready to increase the stakes. If the companies and the union can’t find a deal, there will be more workers hitting the picket line.
An auto industry expert tells 6 News the Lansing plants could be next to walk off the line. Fain said if there is not serious progress in the negotiations by Friday, he will call more plants to hit the line.
“The GM plant in Lansing, where they built the Traverse and some Cadillacs, or the Ford Chicago Plant with the Explorer, and possibly here in the Detroit area, the Jefferson plant where they build the Grand Cheroke,” said David Zoia, editorial director at Wards Auto.
Local 602 members continue to work as normal, but they’re ready, said Mike Huerta, Local 602 President.
“It’s a little bit tense, everybody’s excited to see what happens coming up here,” he said.
Huerta said his members are hopeful a deal can be struck.
“We’re all eager to find out what’s gonna happen, and anxious to get a deal that we can be happy with,” he said.
For him, the contract should be an easy get.
“It’s pretty easy for this to be solved,” he said. “The companies have been very, very profitable over the last couple of decades really. We took a lot of hits in the bankruptcy. We still want some of those concessions back. 17 years later, we’re still waiting on some of those things to come to us, and I think it’s about time that we get them.”
Experts say, if more people are called to strike, supply chain issues are likely to grow.
“I think you’re going to see some incredibly negative impacts to the smaller supply companies, like tier two, tier three suppliers,” said Laura You, a partner at Warner Norcross + Judd. “They may not have the liquidity to continue operating if they’re not receiving any orders or dollars coming in the door.”
However, those workers in supply companies may not be represented by unions. If they get hit with layoffs, they won’t have protections.
“Everything is interconnected and so if you have a plant and you supply to maybe GM but you’re also supplying to Mercedes, for example,” said You. “But you have to lay off your workforce, that’s going to affect your ability to supply to your other customers that are non-union customers.”