CABOT, Ark. – Thursday is day seven of the United Auto Workers strike against the big three automakers and the impact reaches as far as Arkansas.
Their first plants to strike may not be here in Arkansas, but the impacts are likely coming soon.
The Big Three includes Ford, Stellantis and General Motors, which are over some other big names like Chevrolet and GMC. Union workers have said if a deal is not reached by tomorrow they will expand the strike.
Sales Manager Robert Etheridge at Red River Ford in Cabot said he is ready for a deal to be made before the impact trickles down even more.
“I’m ready for it to be over with it for sure,” he said. “Anytime there’s a strike or the fear of a strike, parts seem to get scarce, labor force seems to get scarce.”
Because of this, Red River went ahead and stocked up on new cars months prior to the strike in preparation.
It’s now a waiting game for the dealership while negotiations are made between the Union and Big Three, which will come with a price tag for everyone.
“The more that there’s strikes, the more that there’s an increase in pricing for the manufacturing,” Etheridge said. “There has to be an increase in price if there’s also an increase of paid prices for the labor.”
That pay trickles down to dealerships having to pay more money to manufacturers for the new cars, and dealerships having to raise the prices for buyers. Etheridge said this will likely impact new and used cars, as there will be a shortage of new cars available.
He said he is focused on making sure the dealership can still offer good prices to buyers, in light of the 15% increase that came from the last big trial for the auto world: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is frustrating only because it seems like just months ago were we able to get out of the scarceness of vehicles with COVID, and here we are with a strike.”
The deadline for the Big Three and UAW to reach a deal is Friday.
Etheridge said he is hopeful they will bring this to an end to lessen the impacts that will soon play out.