Wayne State University business professor Marick Masters and journalist John McElroy were speaking to the Detroit Regional Chamber Thursday when they warned the United Auto Workers union of the possibly disastrous results of a strike that went any longer. The union has been on strike against the Big Three in Detroit, General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford, for almost a week.
“A four-week strike would cost more than 150,000 jobs in Michigan. And you can double that over eight weeks,” Masters said, per the Detroit Free Press.
Ford already laid off 600 of its non-striking employees on the first day of the strike. The layoffs were temporary as the plants are so interconnected that they cannot continue working if they are all not at full capacity. Stellantis has also furloughed 68 employees and has plans to do the same to some 300 more.
McElroy lamented that UAW President Shawn Fain was demanding too much to still be sustainable as a union.
“If Shawn Fain wants to restore [cuts automakers agreed to during the Great Recession] plus a 32-hour workweek — a four-day workweek, this could likely be the last contract he ever signs with the Detroit Three,” McElroy said. “They may not be around in four years after this.”
The last time the UAW went on strike was in 2019, and in those six weeks, the largest auto union in the nation cost GM $3.6 billion. This time, the union is striking against all of the Big Three Detroit automakers.
UAW boasts a membership of 400,000 in the United States. At the moment, only some of its members are on strike, with Fain promising that if the demands aren’t met by noon on Friday, more of its members will strike.