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Automakers make adjustments as strike drags on

Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-17 17:26:18-04

(WXYZ) — Tuesday marks day 33 of the UAW strike and workers and automakers have yet to make a deal.

"Four years ago GM was on strike, the whole company. We was out almost seven weeks. This is week four so hopefully we can get a contract and get back to work soon," said Gwenetta Bingham who has worked for the company for 16 years.

Bingham was one of a few workers picketing outside of GM's Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti on Tuesday.

As autoworkers await a deal, automakers are making adjustments to weather the storm.

Tuesday, Stellantis announced in the midst of the UAW strike, they are canceling a planned display and presentations at the upcoming CES® show scheduled for January 2024 in Vegas.

GM is also making changes but they're crediting the evolving demand for electric vehicles. The automaker says they are now pushing back the timeline to transform the Orion Assembly plant to an EV truck plant to 2025.

"These developments will occur even though they may not be directly due to the strike, they will become conflated with the strike and also they will impact the strike," said Wayne State University Professor Marick Masters. "It heightens concern about the unevenness and unpredictability about the transition to electric vehicles and what the consequences might be."

Masters says any business decision made by automakers now will likely take into consideration the strike especially as its economic impact has climbed to an estimated $8 billion.

"The strike certainly amplifies the unpredictability of the situation and heightens the company’s concerns about their ability to plan for the future and adapt accordingly," said Masters.

Bingham says she's unsure what the moves will mean for the future but job security is top of mind.

"You want to have jobs for the people in the future so that’s a big concern also," said Bingham. "I just hope that they can get something together soon."