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General Motors suppliers hit hardest due to ongoing strike

Flickr User Brandon C

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors entered its third week Monday.

It’s estimated that GM has lost more than one hundred million dollars over the course of the strike. But the businesses that supply GM are losing millions too according to some analysts. Economist Patrick Anderson about how much GM suppliers are losing.

GM is the fourth largest employer in the Lansing region. They create over 4,000 jobs in Lansing. But the Lansing Economic Area Partnership estimates there are more than 6500 supplier jobs.

There are nine companies around Lansing that supply GM. Because they’re all private companies, they don’t come close to that fourth largest employer spot that GM takes up. But if you added them all together suppliers create more jobs in the Lansing region than GM.

Patrick Anderson is the CEO of the Anderson Economic Group. Each week of the strike his firm has put out estimates of how much GM and workers are losing. He says, people tend to think of two major players in the strike and forget the others.

“Well there’s GM and then there’s the UAW. In fact, the majority of people don’t work for GM or any of the major automakers they work for dealers, they work for suppliers, part assembler, repair, electricians, pipefitters. “

Anderson says after the 2007 strike, GM and the auto industry changed. A lot of the jobs that used to be GM or UAW jobs...went out to private businesses whose main client is GM.

“And the sheer number of UAW employees is must smaller than it was say at the end of the last century. But it doesn’t mean there’s no pain to go around. The pain still goes around. It just goes outside the GM collar must faster, the GM collar so to speak much faster.”

According to Anderson’s most recent estimates the UAW workers and suppliers have lost more than two hundred sixty-six million dollars. And, even if the strike is resolved, they stand to lose more this week since they’ve lost production for the week. 

Last week alone, Anderson estimated supplier workers around the country lost nearly eleven million dollars per workday. And, that has a big effect on GM towns, like Lansing, with lots of suppliers.

“But their mortgage needs to get paid just as much as everybody else's. So, we do need to think about the suppliers. And in our estimate, starting in the third week now we think suppliers are actually losing more wages than the UAW workers.”

Anderson says Southeast and Mid-Michigan get the worst of it because of the sheer number of GM plants and suppliers that are here.

Places like Lansing, East Lansing. Delta township, Oakland County with the Orion Assembly Plant, Detroit, Hamtramck. I mean if you’ve got that many GM workers and suppliers, you’re going to feel it. And nowhere is the concentration like MIchigan. And it means white collar, new collar, blue collar every kind of collar is affected by this and I am very concerned about Michigan going into a one state recession.

Anderson says, if you count the suppliers, there are more people in Southeast Michigan who are losing wages and didn’t vote for a strike than people who did.

None of the nine Lansing area suppliers have responded to request for comment on how this is affecting their workers. But, with more than 6,000 supplier jobs and 4,000 GM jobs the longer the strike goes on, the more dangerous it will