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Potential Impact of UAW Strike on Inflation, Michigan’s Economy, and Biden’s Administration

Administration, Bidens, Economy, Impact, Inflation, Michigans, Potential, Strike, UAW

A United Auto Workers Union Strike Could Occur as Soon as Friday

  • A 10-day strike could cost the economy $5.6 billion and hurt Biden in the election.
  • The UAW has until Thursday night to agree to an offer with Ford, GM, and Stellantis.

The Potential Impact of the Strike

The clock is ticking as a strike looms at the US’s three major unionized automakers, and a walkout could cost the economy billions. A strike by the United Auto Workers union against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis — which could come as soon as Friday — could damage the economy and drive up inflation, the economic-consulting firm Anderson Economic Group said in August. A 10-day strike of over 143,000 workers could reduce the nation’s gross domestic product by $5.6 billion, AEG found, which could push Michigan into a recession.

Nearly $1 billion of this total would come directly from company losses, while another $859 million would be lost from worker pay, AEG estimated. The industry overall would lose over $3.5 billion, AEG projected. The automotive industry makes up about 3% of US GDP.

Potential Consequences for Automakers

If the strike lasted only a few days, the three automakers might not struggle too much, given all have inventories that could last about two months — and much longer for some models. Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a note, though, that a strike could influence each automaker’s earnings by $400 million to $500 million for each week of lost production.

At the start of the pandemic, automakers faced supply-chain constraints, particularly with computer chips, that hindered vehicle production. Despite a lack of inventory, industry profits skyrocketed, even though 2022 was the worst year for sales for the auto industry in over a decade.

Potential Impact on Inflation and Wages

A UAW strike could damage the Fed’s progress in bringing inflation down to its 2% target. Inflation was about 3.2% as of August. New-vehicle prices may increase nearly 2% in the case of a two-week strike, the automotive-consulting firm J.D. Power told Reuters.

Inflation may stay on pace even if UAW quickly wins higher wages, given many auto workers did not see major wage gains earlier in the pandemic given they were locked into contracts, Bloomberg reported.

Demands and Concerns of the UAW

UAW President Shawn Fain has demanded retiree healthcare and traditional pension payment plans, which were taken away for new hires in 2007. To better protect union members from inflation, the union has pushed for a return to cost-of-living adjustments, 32-hour workweeks, and an immediate raise of 20% followed by four additional 5% raises.

The union has also expressed concern over the companies’ transition to electric vehicles, which have fewer moving parts and require about 30% to 40% less labor to assemble than gasoline-powered cars do.

Potential Impact on Other Companies and Politics

Other companies that heavily rely on these automakers, such as auto-parts makers, which get as much as one-third of their revenue from these three companies, are also expected to see major drops in earnings in the event of a strike.

The UAW has rejected offers from the three companies, which included pay raises between 14.5% and 16% for most union employees.

The strike could seep into politics as campaigning picks up for the 2024 presidential election. Key swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin would likely take large economic hits from the strike, which could hurt President Joe Biden’s chances of winning next year.


A United Auto Workers union strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis could have significant economic consequences, costing the economy billions and potentially pushing Michigan into a recession. The strike could also impact inflation, wages, and the political landscape. The UAW’s demands and concerns regarding retiree healthcare, pension plans, and the transition to electric vehicles are key factors in the negotiations. The outcome of these negotiations will have far-reaching implications for the automotive industry and the US economy as a whole.

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