Commonwealth’s impact from UAW strike weighed

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:32 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The United Auto Workers strike is now a week old. And the longer it goes, the greater the chance we’ll see an impact here in western Virginia.

Right now, the UAW action is a targeted strike affecting three plants in other states, but soon it could expand to other facilities.

Virginia Tech Economics Professor Dr. Jadrian Wooten says a prolonged strike could have a ripple effect on auto parts suppliers.

“The targeted strike sort of helps everyone,” Wooten told WDBJ7 in an interview Thursday. “It keeps the car part manufacturing industry in line, but again if it starts to strike at the entire assembly process for every single plant at the Big Three, then it’s really going to ripple down and start to impact other people.”

“It’s something that we’re monitoring,” said John Hull, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. He said more than 5,000 people in western Virginia are employed in the transportation equipment sector, including some providing parts for passenger vehicles.

But he said many in our region are involved in production of heavy trucks, which are not affected by the current labor dispute.

“The diversity of our transportation equipment sector provides us some comfort,” Hull said, “the fact that it supplies a number of different market segments. We’re not solely in the passenger vehicle space, I think that is positive and generally our economic diversity here in the Roanoke region is a strength.”