As a strike at General Motors Co. enters its second week, Ball State University economist Mike Hicks believes both sides are digging in for what could be a lengthy fight over key issues. For the United Auto Workers union, Hicks says it’s about maintaining and adding to membership, which plummeted nine per cent in 2018, even as manufacturing was enjoying a resurgence. For GM, Hicks says flexibility is critical. “They are looking at the EV, or hybrid market, and that’s going to take different plant and equipment and a very different workforce in many places, so they need that flexibility over the next decade or so,” said Hicks, who serves as director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research
Hicks talked about the potential impact of the strike in Indiana on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Nearly 50,000 union workers nationwide walked off the job earlier this month, including approximately 7,000 workers at four Indiana GM locations in Fort Wayne, Marion, Kokomo and Bedford.
The largest concentration of Hoosier workers is at GM’s Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Roanoke, which makes top-selling trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra and has more than 4,000 workers.
GM has invested more than $1.2 billion in the Allen County operation, “which I think is a good signal that that facility is going to be safe for a long time,” said Hicks.