GM parts still in high demand as auto repair shops deal with backlogged orders following strike
JOPLIN, Mo. — The longest auto workers strike in 50 years is over, but it’s impact is still being felt by auto shops across the country, and here at home.
The strike cost General Motors nearly $2 billion in production.
It cost employees nearly $1 billion in wages.
It’s also costing the consumer in backlogged parts.
John Elliot has been in the car business for years and he loves what he sells.
“I’ve been a fan of General Motors since 1982,” said Elliott.
Even so, the strike organized by the United Auto Workers union certainly took its toll.
“This last strike was probably the longest strike that I’ve experienced. I think it went on just right at 6 weeks.”
With nearly 48,000 GM employees refusing to work, the dealership saw fewer cars coming in.
“Our inventory got pretty light because the teamster unions, if they were a trucking company, they weren’t crossing the picket lines. Our sales didn’t really have a decline, if anything, we kinda had a little bit of a boost because of the strike, they wanted to support it,”explained Elliott.
While sales have been up, the demand for GM parts has been higher as body shops are running into the same problem everywhere.
“We’ve been having to reschedule because it’s difficult to get parts for them,” said Jessica Southard with Barrett Body & Frame in Pittsburg.
“We just finished up, probably the longest one, last week, from getting all the parts, it had been in here for 8 weeks,” said Elliott.
“Talked to the dealership, they told me the parts supply chain is backed up. All of a sudden, the strike is over, all these parts are being produced, and now there’s so many trucks of parts going to the depots that they don’t have the time to get them loaded on the shelves so that they can get them loaded back out and sent to the places they need to be,” stated Scott McCammon with The Touch Up Shop in Joplin.
Not only is it an inconvenience for customers, it’s costing shops time and money.
“Had one vehicle here, it’s been here 28 days. We finally got the parts, the one part. We could’ve had all the other parts, but the one big part showed up yesterday. That’s a loss of income for us. We have a bay that’s tied up that we couldn’t bring in and work on, about $5,000 on one bay in 27 days,” explained McCammon.
Still, GM is on the road to recovery. Local shops expect things to be back to normal in a few more weeks.
“I will probably always be a loyal customer, yes,” expressed Elliott.
GM workers won pay raises and factory investments, but union negotiators weren’t able to get GM to move car production from Mexico to a shuttered factory in Ohio.
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