Strike losses add up to nearly $1 billion for General Motors, UAW so far

 Strikers from General Motors picket outside the Flint Assembly plant.
Strikers from General Motors picket outside the Flint Assembly plant. (WJRT)
Published: Sep. 24, 2019 at 4:55 PM EDT
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(9/24/2019) - General Motors and the United Auto Workers are out a combined $1 billion as a nationwide strike nears the end of nine days.

Reports show GM is losing between $50 million and $100 million per day. That adds up to a total of $450 million to $900 million for the nine days of the strike.

The UAW is paying more than 49,000 striking workers $250 per week now that the work stoppage has reached its second week. That totals about $12.25 million in strike pay from the union per week.

The UAW is paying more to cover the cost of COBRA health care benefits for striking workers after GM froze its employee health insurance last week.

Thousands of other workers at suppliers and logistics companies working with GM are suffering without a paycheck as the strike wears on. Android Industries, Lear Corp., Nexteer and many other companies have laid off workers due to a slowdown in business with GM.

Goldie Brady, a forklift operator with Universal Dedicated Logistics, is collecting unemployment after she got laid off. Her company stores parts for GM and delivers them to the truck plant.

About 300 of Brady's coworkers at United Dedicated Logistics also are off the job.

"We go down to $362 a week if you max out on unemployment and they lose their health care after two weeks," she said. "Luckily, I have my husband's health care, but we have people that are on several prescriptions, and what do they do?"

Brady said it's something they saw coming before the strike was authorized. While she isn't an employee of GM, she's part of UAW Local 659 and supports her fellow union members 100-percent.

Brady said life at home is a lot different now and she isn't doing the things she normally would. She misses getting her paycheck, but also misses getting up and having a job to go to every morning.

Vehicle owners also are paying a price if they need repairs. Auto repair shops across Mid-Michigan are reporting delays in fixing GM vehicles due to a lack of parts.

McFall's Collision in Flint said the length of the delay depends on what's needed to make the repair.

"If they have them in their warehouses, there's quite a few dealerships that do have parts warehouses that we're able to capture those parts from there," said Manager Shane Winslow. "But once they run out, they're out until they get their orders replenished."

McFall's was quiet Tuesday, when the shop normally would be a buzz of activity. Winslow said the business has taken a bit of a hit because of the strike.

About 70 percent of his business involves GM vehicles. With inventory running low at dealership warehouses, some customers are deciding to drive their car until it can be repaired.

Winslow just hopes this all comes to an end soon.

"They're going to run out of parts at the dealership level," he said. "So they do need to get the parts to the dealership, so we can get our customers back on the road."

Anyone who needs repairs for the General Motors vehicle should call ahead and talk with a mechanic to see whether parts are available.

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