Will UAW Strike Hurt Local Economy?

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

For those who are on the picket line, everyday without work is also a day without money.

But they aren't the only ones who might be affected by the shut down of production.

Many of the 1,000 hourly workers at the Bowling Green assembly plants are on the picket line and that's a large part of the workforce in our area.

With the economic support from these workers gone temporarily, could local restaurants, gas stations and other retail businesses suffer?

"Take away a cornerstone like this for any length of time, and certainly it's going to have a great effect," UAW member David Peters said.

But how much of an effect on retail businesses?

Peters said the union will pay those on the picket line 20-percent of their salaries during the strike--meaning they will have less money to spend.

"We asked our members a few weeks ago to limit their discretionary spending--that there were some serious issues in Detroit that we needed to prepare," Peters noted.

He said it'll have a trickle down effect for many local businesses.

WBKO spoke to an employee at a BP gas station near the plant and she told us the gas station had been dead all day long thanks to the beginning of the strike.

Eldon Renaud, president of the UAW, said the community will only see a minor economic impact in the strike's first few days.

However, you can expect to see larger purchases take a dip because more and more on the picket line will be holding on to their money.

"The manufacturing dollar has a tremendous rollover effect in a local economy, much more than the retail dollar, or the agriculture dollar, or the education dollar," Peters said.

If the strike drags on for days, weeks or even months, the economic drain will be much more noticeable.

Patrick McKinney, assistant manager at Jerry's Restaurant, agrees.

"The fact we're getting a lot of truck drivers coming in supplying the GM Factory and if they're not coming in, then obviously they wouldn't be coming here to eat and be at the gas station and things of that nature," he said.

Most of the people we spoke to from both retail businesses and the picket line are taking a very "wait-and-see" attitude in regards to possible economic consequences.

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