Workers in the Michigan auto industry could lose up to $51 million in wages this week, due to the trucker protest at the US-Canada border, according to Anderson Economic Group.
The lost wages are a result of the shutdowns of the Blue Water and Ambassador bridges coupled with shutdowns at identified plants in Delta, Michigan and Ingersoll, Brampton, Windsor, Oakville, Cambridge and Woodstock Ontario. The shutdowns on the Canadian side affect the operation of part plants in Michigan. The calculation of lost wages also takes into account the impact on suppliers and transit workers – many who work on hourly wages.
“This is a serious disruption with significant human impacts,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group. “With the industry already short-handed and production lines awaiting parts, any further interruption is very costly.”
Canada does not have its own auto industry. Instead, US automakers like GM (GM), Ford (F), and Stellantis run the plants there. Anderson Economic Group, which specializes in auto industry analysis, also factored in affected workers from Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM) and warned that if the border crossing remains blocked for longer than this week, the $51 million in direct lost wages would, “climb at an accelerating pace.”
Ford announced it was running its factories at reduced capacity in Oakville and Windsor, Ontario, while General Motors canceled shifts at its Lansing assembly plant. Stellantis also reported cutting shifts short this week. But both GM and Stellantis said all plants opened normally Friday.
US automakers have been plagued by supply chain shortages – in particular the elusive semiconductor computer chip – which is needed in all cars. Therefore, fewer new cars have come to market, driving up costs. This disruption could only exacerbate that issue.