Businesses near auto plants plan to support UAW members if they strike

Sterling Heights, Mich. (CBS Detroit) – If the UAW does not reach an agreement with the Big Three before the current contract expires next Thursday night and members go on strike, this is expected to have a ripple effect on the economy, starting with companies close to the auto plants.

Some of the regulars at Dave’s Barbershop usually come before or after their shift at the Chrysler Stamping Plant across the street in Van Dyke north of 15 Mile Roads.

“They’ve all been in business for 20 or 30 years. So they’re the key people there. They’re good,” said Dave Ballou, the store’s owner.

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

And Ballou isn’t worried about the prospect of those workers leaving their jobs next weekend.

“I’ll be honest, the barbershop is different. You need a haircut no matter what. Restaurants, maybe I’m wrong, but I suppose maybe they’re getting a little slow (sic),” Ballou said.

The UAW did not say whether they would pick just one company to strike or go for all three. But going after the three could drain their strike money in less than three months.

“Nobody wants to strike because it’s inconvenient for the workers, the communities in which they work, and it has repercussions. And it’s not good for consumers because in the end someone will have to pay for the strike,” said Marek Masters, an entrepreneur. A professor at Wayne State University told The Associated Press.

When General Motors workers went on strike in 2019 for 40 days, it cost the automaker more than $3 billion. This time around, analysts say the 10-day strike will hit the three automakers hard, costing them nearly $1 billion.

“I mean, they (the Detroit auto companies) are at risk. They may not be at risk like UPS, but they are at risk, and they have to — both sides have to realize that,” Masters said.

Off camera, other business owners along Van Dyke told CBS News Detroit that they are willing to support workers who have reached the picket line by offering discounts at their establishments for the duration of the strike.

The union has several demands. They include a salary increase of 46%, a 32-hour work week and a return to traditional pension plus other benefits.

“I think it’s going to be better for them. They’re going to be better. They’re going to be happier at work and they’re going to get more money,” Ballou said.

(Signs for translation) Sterling Heights

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