Mon, Sep 18, 2023 12:12 PM
By J.D. Davidson, The Center Square
An Ohio manufacturers trade group believes the state bears the brunt of the negative economic impact from the United Auto Workers strike that entered its fourth day Monday.
The Ohio Manufacturers Association urged union leaders and the nation’s Big Three automakers to step up negotiations to end the strike that some think is closing in on nearly a $10 billion impact nationwide.
The strike includes workers at the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex.
"The OMA is extremely concerned about the financial impact on auto suppliers and their employees who would be held hostage by a long-term strike,” OMA President Ryan Augsburger said. "Inflammatory rhetoric and unreasonable demands must be replaced with rational, good-faith negotiations and an awareness that America's auto sector faces stiff global competition. The OMA urges UAW leaders to return to the negotiating table with a serious resolve to end this standoff and prioritize the competitiveness of America's auto sector – for the sake of our nation's and state's economies."
The Anderson Economic Group predicts a 10-day strike would have a $5.6 billion economic impact nationwide, with Ohio taking a significant impact.
The UAW went on strike against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors at select factories at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The union wants members to receive a 40% raise over four years and a 32-hour workweek with the same wage as a five-day workweek.
On Sunday, UAW rejected an offer from Stellantis that would have raised pay by 21% over four years.
Ohio Democrat Party leaders also called for negotiations while offering support for the UAW.
“I wholeheartedly support the ability of workers to strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and better benefits,” said Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood. “As corporate profits have surged in recent years, it is well within the right of laborers to demand more for their work. I encourage both sides to negotiate in good faith and come to a fair agreement. I stand with our brothers and sisters of the UAW and hope for a speedy resolution."
House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, also voiced support for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s, D-Ohio, Workers Healthcare Protection Act, along with striking UAW workers.
“For generations, auto workers have represented some of America’s greatest qualities – hard work, sacrifice, patriotism,” Russo said. "I stand in solidarity with the men and women of the UAW on the picket lines in Toledo and everywhere. It’s time the automakers put people over profits and pay workers a fair wage and give them a fair contract."
Ohio ranks second in the nation in auto manufacturing, second in transmission production and first in engine production, according to Jobs Ohio.
U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, blamed the Biden administration's continued push for electric vehicles for the auto industry struggles.
“While most Americans want to drive a gas-powered car, the Biden administration pursues a policy explicitly designed to increase the cost of gas,” Vance said in a statement. “They do this in the name of the environment, but all they’re doing is enriching the dirtiest economy in the world at the expense of auto workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.”