LANSING, Mich. – After 19 days of constant negotiating between General Motors and the United Automobile Workers, there's still no deal in sight.
The UAW strike on GM is dragging on far longer than either side expected. On Friday, both sides went back to the bargaining table, but there are real questions about the substance of the talks.
While the rank and file walk the picket line, they're missing paychecks. They said the $250 per week strike pay covers very little. General Motors has also lost millions of dollars.
At the same time, the ripple effect is spreading, and the losses no longer just impact GM and its employees and dealers.
Lansing Grand River door line temporary Nick Gerlach got his $250 strike check Tuesday.
"It was definitely important," Gerlach said. "It helps us pay our bills and stuff for the strike."
But it's a fraction of his regular pay. Run that across roughly 18,000 GM-UAW Michigan line workers and it adds up quickly.
Well-known Michigan economist Patrick Anderson told Local 4 that Southeast Michigan's economy has already taken a $200 million hit. He fears if the strike goes on much longer, GM won't be able to make production, losing sales and causing a one-state recession.
"You also have a lot of people who have reduced hours, and all of a sudden, no overtime or they're not working 40 hours or they're not getting called in," Anderson said. "A lot of gig economy is affected now, doing part-time design work, things like that."
Anderson believes there's another issue at play: neither side is willing to budge.
"If GM can't be competitive, they go out of business, and nobody's bailing them out," Anderson said. "If the UAW doesn't insist on workers' benefits for their members, why do they need the UAW? These issues are very important to both parties."
"We'll be out here as long as it takes to get what's fair," Gerlach said.
By the fourth week of the strike, which begins Monday, Anderson said GM has a good chance at losing sales that often never come back. He said both sides need to come to an agreement sooner rather than later.