UAW strike continues, local auto body shop employees speak on impacts

DAYTON — The United Auto Workers have officially been on strike for 18 days, as of Monday, Oct. 2.

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Selected plants within the big three domestic automakers, Ford Motors, Stellantis, and General Motors have not been operating since last month.

The workers from Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and General Motors’ Lansing-Delta Township Plant joined the strike, on Friday.

The strike is now made up of 25,000 United Auto Workers.

Thoma Auto Body Shop spoke with News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott about the difficulty they have getting parts in.

“The truck behind us is actually waiting for the grill, the one piece that’s missing,” Thoma Auto Body Shop Office Manager Jennifer Rosenkranz said.

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Finding a grill that fits a Ford truck that has been sitting in the lot has been a struggle for the local shop.

“This guy is very fortunate because his damage is small. So it’s not such an eyesore, but we’re not sure when we’ll see him again,” Rosenkranz said.

Other cars that have heavier damage have been stuck in the parking lot waiting for parts.

“It just makes business more difficult. We can’t get these cars in and out of here,” Thoma Auto Body Shop Service Advisor Ryan Jessup said.

The parts the cars need are specific and mechanics cannot just replace them with something similar from another manufacturer.

“It’s the only one that fits. A lot of these cars have seven and eight options, and you can’t use the other options,” Jessup said.

While Thoma Auto Body Shop has been having a hard time getting parts from GM, soon other cars like Dodges, made by Stellantis, will be sitting in the lot waiting for parts as well.

“That’s probably 40% of the business,” Jessup said.

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The body shop has been doing all they can to get customer’s cars back on the road.

“Our owner will drive all over to try to find as a part whether it’s a part this big or you know, $5,000 parts, he will go get it if we can find it,” Rosenkranz said.

But they will have competition when it comes to getting used parts.

“If there are 10 used hoods out there, we’re not gonna be the only person searching for it,” Rosenkranz said.

The sooner the UAW strike ends, the better for local auto body shops.

“It won’t be better right away. It’s still got to get amped back up and to it. But yeah, if they can strike and get back to it, that’d be great. Customers would really like us then,” Rosenkranz said.

The lack of parts is not impacting their revenue right now, but they believe it will in a few months, especially as used car parts are expected to skyrocket since new ones aren’t being produced.