UAW strike slows parts supply chain
Finding parts to repair General Motors built vehicles is involving more strategy with fewer parts to pick from.
The UAW strike against GM is forcing local dealerships and auto body shops to lean on each other for supplies.
"Everybody's dealing with it right now, you know if this goes on much longer, then we're really going to start to notice it," Barry Gonis said, general manager of Spitzer Chevrolet Lordstown.
Gonis says he has enough inventory of vehicles to sell on his lots for about four months, but auto body parts like fenders and hoods are a different story.
He says his dealership is leaning on its other Spitzer locations and the Chevy All-Stars network of local dealers to keep customers on the road. The dealerships are putting competition aside to keep GM customers happy.
The dealerships use a parts inventory locator to find what they need anywhere in the country for each customer's vehicle.
Gonis is hopeful for a positive outcome at the end of the strike.
"I'd like to think it's more about people and people working instead of just a bottom line. Unfortunately, sometimes people just look at the bottom line, and I'd love to have this plant back up and running and getting a lot of people new jobs, and you know just getting back to the way it was," he said.
But avoiding a backlog of repairs is only expected to become more difficult if the UAW strike stretches on.
"We're noticing more with body parts, since we have a body shop here, that if I don't already have it, I'm able to still get it, but things are going to start running out here pretty soon," Frank Spano said, parts manager at Lou Wollam Chevrolet.
UAW workers normally man the automaker's parts warehouses, and no one is working there or shipping any items out.
The strike entered its fourth week Monday with no signs of progress after feedback from the UAW's top negotiator telling members over the weekend that talks recently took a turn for the worse.
"I think it's serious now, they need to get it straightened out because it's going to become a point and it's in the near future, we're not going to be able to get anything," Spano said.
Dutch Autobody in Youngstown has several cars they can't work on, because they can't get the parts. In some cases, the auto shop is ordering parts from Classic Chevy in Mentor.
They say many customers are forced to drive rental cars while they wait.