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GM strike hurts 150,000 auto industry workers, says consulting firm

About 75,000 parts supplier employees see temporary layoffs, wage drops

The prolonged strike at General Motors is estimated to have hit 150,000 workers in the auto industry, a report from research and consulting firm Anderson Economic Group (AEG) showed on Tuesday.

The strike at the No.1 U.S. carmaker began on Sept. 16, with its 48,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of the automaker's profit and protection of healthcare benefits.

About 75,000 employees of auto parts suppliers have either been temporarily laid off or have seen their wages shrink due to the slump in demand from GM, according to the AEG report.

The research firm estimates that the strike has resulted in a $660 million profit hit for GM and more than $412 million direct wage losses for all employees through the third week of the strike.

It has also led to $155 million in lost federal income and payroll tax revenue and $9.1 million in lost Michigan income tax revenue.

A New York Times article highlights the personal costs of the strike, and provides more numbers to illustrate the costs. 1,200 truckers and production workers from suppliers in Flint, Michigan lost their jobs. The local economy there has taken a hit, with fewer customers in restaurants. Even suppliers of GM's suppliers have been affected, with one — Pridgeon & Clay in Grand Rapids — freezing hiring, while another — Stripmatic in Cleveland — has seen its shortage of manpower alleviated, freeing up workers for other tasks.

"I might lose the business next week," Wael Tlaib, owner of Phoenix Transit & Logistics in Dearborn, told the Times. Tlaib said he has laid off most of his staff.

Talks for a new four-year labor contract took a "turn for the worse" on Sunday after the UAW rejected GM's latest offer, but the two sides were still talking.

"We continue to meet with the Company and are still not in agreement on key issues such as wages and healthcare", UAW Vice President and Director Terry Dittes said.

Reporting by Dominic Roshan K.L.

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