What UAW’s Historic Move Means for You

By: Anneken Tappe · September 18, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Striking Times

The United Auto Workers, or UAW, officially initiated a strike against the Big Three U.S. automotive giants: General Motors (GM), Ford (F), and Stellantis (STLA).

Approximately 12,700 workers walked out of plants across Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri late last week in protest of flagging negotiations affecting around 146,000 U.S. factory workers.

The walkouts could just be the beginning of what might be an ongoing nationwide strike, possibly signaling turbulent times ahead for the industry.

Uncharted Territory

The walkouts are already a historic event as the union hasn’t conducted strikes across all three auto companies simultaneously in its near-nine-decade history.

However, the initial market response was somewhat muted. Ford and GM shares dipped only slightly in Friday premarket trading. GM and Stellantis ended the trading day higher, while Ford was flat. Analysts anticipate a limited financial impact unless the strike drags on.

Notably, the UAW is only sending a fraction of its overall workforce to the picket lines. This approach, while saving a significant chunk of the union’s $825 million fund compared to a full-blown strike of all union workers, likely contributes to the limited impact.

The Picket Price

If it continues for a long time, the UAW strike will have ramifications across the auto industry, from producers to purchasers.

If production gets delayed, it could lead to dwindling car choices, rising prices for both new and used vehicles, longer waits for repairs and parts, and fewer buyer incentives. Dealerships may even upcharge for in-demand models. But following the pandemic-era chip shortages that led to delays on new car deliveries, manufacturers have been building up their inventory again, which could help soften the blow in case of a long strike.

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