Dearborn trucking company in danger of shutting down amid GM-UAW strike

Phoenix Trucking hoping for resolution to strike

DEARBORN, Mich. – Wednesday is the 24th day on the picket line for workers during strike negotiations between General Motors and the United Automobile Workers.

As the strike grinds on, the damage done to those who depend on GM is getting worse. A Dearborn trucking company is teetering on the edge and counting on a quick settlement.

Phoenix Trucking has dozens of trailers and truck digs, but they're all collecting dust while the clock ticks on the debt the company owes for them.

If the strike doesn't end soon, it will be the end of the business, co-owner Mohammad Thalji said.

Compass Lease, out of Chicago, owns all 100 trailers.

Thalji said if his company doesn't make the payment this week, Compass will take the trucks. But the trucks are filled with GM parts, and GM officials told the business to park the trailers until the strike ends, leaving Thalji to talk about the future of his business.

"Me and my partner, we've been in talks about shutting the company down or stopping the business, and we're trying to find a solution," Thalji said.

His partner, Wael Tlaib, said neither of them is sleeping much, with 21 employees on the payroll and 100 drivers impatiently waiting for work.

"Most of my drivers, they're trying to find a temporary job, like Uber," Tlaib said.

The company also employs subcontractors such as Fares Mahas, who owns five trucks that run GM parts all over the region. The married father of three said he prays daily for a settlement.

"I'm getting phone calls from the bank saying I need to pay or they're going to come pick up my trucks, so the situation is really, really bad," Mahas said.

Phoenix Trucking used to exclusively move cargo containers but went to work with GM last year, fearing the trade war with China and believing the auto industry would be more stable.

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