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Economic losses racking up more than $3 billion as UAW strike reaches 18th day

Economic losses racking up more than $3 billion as UAW strike reaches 18th day
Economic losses racking up more than $3 billion as UAW strike reaches 18th day 03:05

CENTER LINE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – The autoworkers' strike is now entering its third full week, and on Monday, we learned how much money the industry has lost so far because of it.

CBS News Detroit spoke to an analyst who sees the pace of those losses accelerating from here on out. Our state is bearing the brunt of it since Michigan is a hub of the auto industry.

"I'm ready to strike for as long as we can as long as that goes," said Trisha Trivette-Hatfield, a UAW Local 1248 member.

Trivette-Hatfield knows the weekly $500 in strike pay won't be enough, but Trivette-Hatfield and other members of Local 1248 are ready to do whatever they have to until their union reaches a tentative agreement with Stellantis.

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

"We should be at like $46 an hour right now. And you know, with everything going up in price, worst day, and we've been we're only what, $2, $3 more than we were 10 years ago, 13 years ago, that's not right. It's just not right,"  Trivette-Hatfield said.

The number of workers at the picket line comes in waves, and with each week resulting in more walkouts, there's a surge of economic losses. 

"The single biggest loss here is of suppliers, many of whom can't quite tell whether their product is going to be sold until days or even hours beforehand. So they're picking up a lot of the cost of the strike right now," said Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of the Anderson Economic Group.

"The biggest risk is that we end up with a bigger strike that produces a labor agreement that doesn't allow us to compete effectively. And we bruise the relationships we have with customers. That's what all the participants in this particular bargaining need to keep in mind," Anderson told CBS News Detroit on Monday. 

And while the average American may not feel the strike's effects unless they need car repairs or have family members working in the auto industry. It's only a matter of time before car buyers face a dilemma that could severely impact Detroit's Big Three.

"You're starting to affect whether they think about buying a GM and Ford and Chrysler product or a Toyota and Honda product, or Mercedes-Benz or BMW or a Kia, or a Tesla. And these vehicles, many of which are assembled in the United States - Toyota and Honda are making cars in the United States of America, as is Tesla - are products that consumers can easily substitute," Anderson said.

Anderson added workers deserve a pay increase but believes there are certain demands from the union, such as pension plans, that could pose bankruptcy risks for Ford, GM and Stellantis.

"Demands aren't necessarily demands. It's just a simple asking for the status quo to be returned to the status quo. It's not they're asking for more. We're asking to be made whole," said Alex Moroni, another UAW Local 1248 member. 

As far as contract talks, formal meetings took place today with GM and Stellantis, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. 

No other details were immediately available.

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