PHOENIX, Ariz. (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - 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.”
"We'd have the supply to last us through a work stoppage," said Scott Gruwell, General Manager at Courtesy Chevrolet.
That's why for the time being, it's business as usual for Gruwell and his crew at Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix.
Stores shifting to selling used cars should strike drag on
"For the last [three-to-four] weeks, we've been getting a larger surplus, a larger supply, in essence if there was indeed in case a strike that started today," Gruwell shared.
As long as the strike doesn't last longer than a month, Gruwell doesn't anticipate inventory being impacted.
However, if it does get past that time frame, like a similar strike did back in 2019, that's when his stores with General Motors (GM) or Chrysler cars could start to shift towards selling more used vehicles compared to new ones.
"If the strike would drag on, it would be unfortunate for both parties. Not only for the union members and the workers, it's also the company as well. And the dealers, and the consumers…When the inventory isn't produced for long, substantial amounts of time, it does impact availability," Gruwell remarked.
Parts in the cars
And not just for cars, but for the parts in those cars.
Jeff Inman runs Inman and Sons Auto & Truck Center in Phoenix. He says an already-existing backlog from the pandemic could be worsened if this strike drags out.
"Getting those body parts for newer cars will be very difficult. Because again, they're not at salvage yards. It's not like you're going to find a left front door for your Chevy Truck. That's typically going to come from GM," Inman explained.
That being said, Inman realizes any delay on new vehicle manufacturing could mean more of a preference to keep their older vehicles, which could help his business.
"It's not uncommon for us to say, 'Hey you need suspension. You need this,. You need that. It's four, $5,000.' And they're like, 'It beats buying a $45,000 truck,' or whatever the case might be," Inman detailed.
Strike ending sooner than later
Ultimately, both Inman and Gruwell want this strike to end sooner than later, so that no one is left hanging out to dry.
"The effects, depending on how long this lasts, could be really devastating," Inman added.
"Hopefully the strike doesn't last for a long time, and everybody walks away satisfied at the end of the deal," Gruwell expressed.