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Auto Worker Strikes Lay
Groundwork for Strikes in
These Manufacturing

Auto Worker Strikes Lay Groundwork for Strikes in These Manufacturing Industries

October 31, 2023

Auto Worker Strikes: Solutions in Manufacturing Industries Across North America

Auto worker strikes in North America’s automobile industry have drawn international attention as the union representing more than 400,000 workers attempts to extract better employment deals from their employers. The tactic being used by union members has been successful in disrupting supply chains and forcing employers to lay off portions of their workforce in an effort to preserve union resources. As each day passes, business continuity disruptions are expected to see multi-billion dollar losses for employers and workforces, one of the most costly union strikes in American history.

For employers who maintain unionized workforces in manufacturing, the ongoing strike sends a troubling message; potentially encouraging others to follow a similar path. Many union leaders across North America are paying close attention to their tactics, along with new labor deals that could result from their efforts.

Auto Worker Strikes: Which Manufacturing Workforces Will Strike Next?

Labor unions in both the United States and Canada have unique arrangements with their employers, with labor strike sentiment among each local division being different from one another. There is no guarantee that workforces represented by these unions will strike; however, as costs of living continue to rise, many workers in low-to-medium-skilled manufacturing roles will need higher wages to make ends meet. 

  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents over 800,000 active and retired professionals in electrical-related work, could be mulling over the possibilities of a large-scale labor strike in the coming months. A global union with members in electrical utilities, telecommunications, railroad, and electrical manufacturing could leverage its position to disrupt multiple supply chains and employers similarly as auto workers have across the country. While small workforces represented by the IBEW have gone on strike as recently as September 2023, the employees represented by this union have unique leverage against their employers.
  • Many local factions of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have already begun the process of striking against employers in the aeronautical and manufacturing industries. The union has historically helped its members leverage their influence for better wages and reduced overtime, while machinists in forestry, motorcycle production, and airplane manufacturing have seen the benefits of formal unionization for over a hundred years. The union currently represents over 600,000 members across Canada and the United States.
  • UNITE HERE members have recently taken to the picket line for improved wages in America’s hospitality sector, but the union also represents workers in many other fields. It is a conglomeration of many American unions with workforces in the clothing and textile manufacturing sector. Garment worker strikes are highly possible for employers, as these workforces have historically faced difficult working conditions in factories, including long hours and physically taxing work.
  • Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) recently threatened a union-wide strike against one of North America’s largest shippers and receivers, narrowly avoiding a strike that would disrupt supply chains around the world. This well-known trade union represents an incredibly diverse range of workforces, including building supply manufacturers, warehouse workers, and food and beverage manufacturing

Worker Strikes and Business Continuity Alongside AFIMAC Global

Auto Worker Strikes illustrated by a manufacturing worker completing work on a car.

Employers must begin to weigh the risk that members of their workforce could be set to walk off the job in the next six to 12 months. Low-to-medium skilled workforces in manufacturing face a challenging situation due to inflation and soaring rent across North America, with no other option but to demand more from their employer. 

Employers face unique problems regarding worker and union strikes, with the expectation that it will continue for the next several years. Labor shortages, worker lockouts, and union strikes call for solutions that include contingent workforces and the resulting security risks that come with picket lines and general labor turmoil.

Sudden halts in productivity can prompt extensive financial losses, impacting your business’s bottom line for years to come. Successful business continuity always calls for comprehensive planning alongside qualified contingent labor specialists such as AFIMAC Global. The costs of engaging with AFIMAC remain incredibly small, with many employers only paying for contingent workforce solutions upon deployment. Having no business continuity plan in place can increase the leverage of a unionized workforce, forcing the hand of employers into unfavorable deals.

See the full line of business continuity services from AFIMAC Global. Click to learn more.

AFIMAC’s worker strike planning costs close to nothing and is capable of giving employers a strong business continuity plan in the face of labor turmoil. Such services can also provide options for employers facing ongoing labor shortages or a simple lack of local skilled talent.

AFIMAC’s traveling workforces are built to address the business continuity challenges of employers in manufacturing industries across North America. We are one of the only full-service worker strike solution providers, offering labor and security resources when they are needed most. Engage with AFIMAC and begin the process of planning for strike-related risks and working to preserve the business your executive team has worked so hard to build.

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Workers strike shown via a woman on a picket line.
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Labor dispute guidance and planning is conducted with AFIAMC clients.
Port strikes illustrated by a large tanker of shipping containers.
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