Short on Auto Repair Parts? 3 Ways for You to Manage Through U.S. Auto Workers' Strike

We’ve now hit the three-week mark of the most far-reaching automotive strike in U.S. history. Until now, there has never been a strike against all of the Big 3 automakers at once. We want to share our thoughts as you plan and schedule your cost estimate, repairs, or upgrades to your vehicle.

Our goal at Anderson’s Autobody is to share information that helps you make good decisions that impact your daily lives. We want to make sure you’re prepared for another possible auto parts shortage – specifically on U.S. cars, SUVs, and trucks. We also want to share pragmatic advice for our friends and neighbors across North Idaho with the consequence of a collision being more severe if you’re waiting weeks or months for a critical part to arrive.

What’s the Latest?

The United Auto Workers (UAW) – a total of 150,000 members – began a rolling, nationwide strike on September 15. Nearly 13,000 autoworkers halted work at Big Three (Ford, GM, and Stellantis (parent of Chrysler and Jepp) assembly plants in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. To date, approximately 17% of their members – or 25,000 – are picketing with more to come.

One week in, 5,600 additional workers at 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers in 20 states walked off the job. The activity marks the first UAW strike since auto workers walked out on GM in 2019.

Two weeks in, the UAW expanded its strikes, ordering another 7,000 more workers to walk off the job at a General Motors plant in Lansing, Michigan, and a Ford plant in Chicago, to put more pressure on the companies to improve their offers. While there is reported talk of progress, we’re a long way from a resolution. So Big 3 Auto isn’t making new parts, nor shipping those available in their warehouses.

Why Should I Care?

The work stoppage limits our ability to get new or replacement parts for American trucks, SUVs, and cars.

Negotiations on greater, and benefits with a four-day workweek remain far apart. The strike has already impacted auto body and mechanical repair shops as well as suppliers with layoffs and concern for layoffs. Some auto suppliers by causing a shortage of vehicle parts. Dealers won’t be able to make repairs once they run out of parts on hand. Trucks and cars needing repairs could be stuck for months. So far, the strike has most impacted the following vehicles:

  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Ford Bronco
  • Ford Ranger
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Express
  • GMC Canyon and GS Savana

What are We Doing at the Shop?

We're not sitting on our hands. During COVID, we created great scheduling strategies that help us flex now and get people in and out faster. And, we practically doubled our space a few months ago to allow for more repair dropoffs. We also expanded our suppliers regionally and nationally to navigate different part options expertly. You have our commitment to keep being scrappy and speedy without needless "waiting around" time.

3 Big Things You Can Do?

  1. DRIVE SAFELY and responsibly and remind your kids and parents of the same. The consequences are higher if you break down. Be careful around wildlife as October-December are the highest months for animal strikes - especially deer and turkey which can cause thousands in repairs!
  2. SCHEDULE YOUR ESTIMATES OR REPAIRS ONLINE with us and pass that on to your friends and family. By scheduling an appointment, our team can plan for your arrival while focusing on work we already doing without surprise drop-ins. You may need to wait if you just walk in without an appointment. We have online appointment scheduling to keep operations smooth and ensure we make time for you while getting a sense of your damage report ahead of time. Calling or texting us is the next best thing.
  3. DON’T ASSUME that we're too busy or that we can't get your parts. Every situation is different. We will be 100% honest and work through it together. We offer many repair options to keep you on the road - even if getting OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts directly from Ford, GM, Jeep, or Chrysler becomes impossible. Often, there are very high-quality aftermarket and LKQ (like kind and quality) parts that do the job perfectly and safely. Our estimators Hillari Contor, David Rafferty, and Cam Srigley will keep advocating on your behalf as we work through options with your insurance provider.

From October 3, here is a very good Axios factual article summarizing the impact until now and what to expect in the coming weeks. Stay safe and stay positive!