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Auto expert says about 1.25% of Big Three auto and supplier workers are now laid off

Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-11 17:29:53-04

TRENTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Thousands of auto workers don't have a job to go to this week as the number of Michigan layoffs continue to grow.

Most recently Stellantis has temporarily laid off 560 of the 670 UAW employees at Trenton Engine Plant.

Financial Secretary of UAW 372 at the plant, Tammy Patrick said people have been calling her non-stop asking questions such as; "How long is this gonna last? Are our benefits going to stay, what about our healthcare, our dental? My kid’s got doctors appointments, dentist appointments."

The Trenton workers don't qualify for unemployment, so Patrick and Local 372 President Dave Gerbi have been working to try and get the workers strike pay.

When we met them Wednesday they were setting up for a Thursday event at their chapter where workers could sign up for strike pay.

"Not knowing where their money's gonna come from, it was very uneasy," said Gerbi. "Our phones were off the hook throughout the night and all weekend long."

"They still are off the hook because people don’t know," added Patrick.

Including Stellantis' layoffs at their Toledo Assembly Plant, they say they now have a total of 640 employees on temporary layoff.

That's the lowest number among the Big Three.

Ford Motor Company has laid off at least 1,800 workers in reaction to the strike and General Motors has laid off at least 2,230.

Professor of Business at Wayne State University, Marick Masters told us that around 5,000 supplier auto workers have also been laid off making his estimate of total auto layoffs 10,000.

"The ripple effect will expand, it will expand to dealerships," said Masters. "I would expect things to multiply relatively quickly if he has to ramp up the strikes."

Masters told us that by his calculations about 1.25% of Big Three auto and supplier workers are now laid off.

He said this week is critical to seeing if the Big Three and the UAW are close to reaching contract agreements.

If not layoffs will continue to grow.

With uncertainty looming in the auto industry Patrick and Gerbi told us they're just looking for ways to help their UAW members get by.

"We’ve always given back to our community," said Patrick. "So I’ve already started reaching out to food banks and stuff at this time if our members need it."