Auto workers strike could impact Arizona businesses

For the first time, the United Auto Workers are striking against Ford, GM, and Stellantis at the same time.
The autoworker strike shouldn't impact inventories in Arizona initially but if lasts for weeks, car dealers may shift to selling more used cars.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:37 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The United Auto Workers (UAW) are on strike against Detroit’s Big 3 automakers after not reaching a new contract deal by Thursday night’s expiration. About 12,700 workers walked out of plants in Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio to fight for increased pay and benefits. And this strike could have nationwide impacts, including in Arizona.

UAW Shawn Fain said negotiations and offers were still too far apart to settle, and the automakers left them with no choice but to strike. “We gave counteroffers, and that’s the first misconception that some of the corporate CEOs been putting out, saying we haven’t countered. We’ve countered,” Fain said, “It’s their fault. It’s a shame that they waited till the last week to start meeting with us.”

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) went on strike at all three Detroit automakers for the first time in their union's history.

Impacts on inventory will depend on the length of the strike. According to Cox Automotive in Tempe, there are more than 2 million new, unsold vehicles in the U.S., the highest it’s been since April 2021. Overall, it means there is a 58-day supply of new vehicles. Sixty is considered ideal, but the numbers vary across manufacturers. For example, at the beginning of September, Cadillac had the lowest inventory among domestic brands, with a 46-day supply, according to Cox Automotive. Chevrolet has a 52-day supply of new, unsold vehicles, Jeep has a 95-day supply and RAM has a 115-day supply.

In addition to car shoppers, Stan Mirzayev, the founder of Arizona-based Parts Pass, says the UAW strike could affect people who plan to have their vehicles serviced at dealerships. “If they can’t have the parts ready or the fluids ready to service these vehicles, everything, the whole industry comes to a halt, and that’s a huge problem for people to have,” Mirzayev said.

The Phoenix area is also home to several semiconductor plants like TSMC, which supply automakers with chips needed in modern vehicles. The strike could impact those businesses as well.

This strike is not a full-scale walkout, but Fain said the union will call for more workers to walk out if the automakers continue to not offer a better deal. Big ticket demands for UAW are pay and benefits that were phased out in 2007 after Detroit’s big 3 were on the verge of a financial collapse.

The UAW is demanding:

  • 40% raises in worker salaries; 20% immediately, and four 5% raises throughout the lifetime of worker contracts
  • Bring back a traditional pension plan and retiree healthcare coverage for workers hired after 2007.
  • Reverse its concessions deal made back in 2007 and 2009.
  • Bring back its “Cost of Living Adjustments” contracts (COLA), to protect workers from rising inflation costs.
  • Implement 32-hour work weeks without a pay drop.
  • End forced overtime and temporary workers

On track to make over $20 billion in profits this year and a quarter of a trillion over the past decade, Fain said there’s no reason for the automakers to not meet the union’s needs. “The money is there. The cause is righteous. The world is watching, and the UAW is ready to stand up,” Fain said.

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