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9.22.23 UAW Strike Analysis and Commentary/S&P Global Mobility

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S&P Global Mobility Analysis and Commentary: UAW Strike
September 22, 2023, 12:00 p.m. ET
UAW strikes GM, Stellantis US parts distribution centers

As of noon on Sept. 22, the UAW added GM and Stellantis US parts distribution centers to its strike for a new four-year contract. Since September 15, the UAW has been on strike at three vehicle assembly plants at each of the automakers. The action on September 22 is in addition to the ongoing vehicle assembly strikes.

It is significant that the UAW has not added more vehicle assembly, engine or component plants to the stand-up strike — yet. The UAW aims to achieve 100% of its demands and is willing to drag out the situation. Holding off striking at vehicle, engine and components facilities ensures they still have leverage, while also inflicting economic difficulties for automakers. While we are able to provide some context and insight, S&P Global Mobility does not have an estimate on what plants may be affected next as of this time.

The UAW has said that Ford has responded to a number of its demands, though that there is still ground to cover. As a result, the latest strike additions are against Stellantis and GM. Ford facilities have not been added.

The UAW strategy is to create increasing economic disruption until they achieve the accommodations they seek, and it says it is willing to go the distance, implying willingness to expand strikes to include a full strike if they find it necessary. While oftentimes union negotiations can be strained and difficult, this year’s talks are proving to be the most contentious in decades.

Quotes from our S&P Global Mobility experts:

“In selecting the parts distribution centers, the UAW creates a scenario where manufacturing disruptions will be more difficult to predict or manage, and could be widespread. A vehicle has thousands of parts, and if one is missing, it cannot be completed.” --Joe Langley, associate director, North American  production forecasting, S&P Global Mobility

“Along with the specter of ongoing low inventory and some vehicles perhaps being in even shorter supply as a result, the situation also creates potential challenges for dealers and customers, if repair parts become difficult to source. But UAW leadership believes it has public support. In announcing this move, the UAW said automakers and dealers could ensure customers aren’t hurt, if they avoid ’price gouging.’  It is unclear how much patience an average consumer will have if they cannot get a vehicle serviced.” -- Stephanie Brinley, associate director, Automotive Intelligence, S&P Global Mobility

“Parts suppliers to Detroit 3 vehicle and powertrain assembly plants are breathing a sigh of short-term relief as the second UAW strike escalation at GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers has mainly indirect impacts.  Unless a supplier is completely focused on the aftermarket channel, the vast majority of parts suppliers build a minor portion of their volume for vehicles services at dealers.  Direct and immediate impacts are mainly felt with vehicle and component assembly plants that are targeted for labor disruptions.” – Michael Robinet, executive director, consulting services, S&P Global Mobility


Fast Facts

Current vehicle assembly plants on strike:

  • Michigan Assembly Plant, Wayne, Michigan, Ford: Produces Ranger and Bronco
  • Wentzville, Missouri, GM: Produces Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana, stampings for Chevrolet Malibu
  • Toledo Assembly Complex, Toledo, Ohio, Stellantis: Produces Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator

Estimated Secondary Effects:

  • Springfield, Ohio, Navistar: unconfirmed if down, assuming down 9/20 due to reliance on Express/Savana bodies from Wentzville
  • Fairfax Assembly, Missouri: Produces Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac XT4

S&P Global Mobility estimated volume impact on daily vehicle production, for all impacted and estimate secondary plants: 24,300 units. This assumes a straight time schedule, with no overtime.