‘It’s going to affect everybody’: Evansville auto shop weighs in on UAW strike

‘It’s going to affect everybody’: Evansville auto shop weighs in on UAW strike
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:36 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the United Auto Workers strike continues into its second week, local auto body shops are predicting major parts shortages.

“They don’t have the raw materials to make parts. It’s become a big issue,” said Kevin Calhoun, owner of Bartley’s Paint and Body Shop.

Calhoun says there’s been a parts shortage since 2019. The pandemic made it worse, and inventories will fall further behind the longer the strike lasts.

“If the strike goes for a week, two weeks, three weeks, it is considerably going to get worse,” Calhoun said.

Fewer parts coming off assembly lines means longer wait times for those in need of auto repairs.

Calhoun says parts that used to be available the same day can now take weeks to come in.

That’s forced them to move their parts storage from a small room to a full warehouse.

“We’ll find that sometimes we’re waiting three or four weeks just to get a single part,” Calhoun said. “We’re trying to order two or three worth of parts out to try and offset and make our shop flow a little bit easier.”

And already, some parts are difficult to find.

“We’re seeing a lot of shortages on Chrysler products,” Calhoun said.

That means brands like Jeep, Dodge and Ram too.

Calhoun says one woman’s Jeep sat in the shop for six months, waiting on just an airbag. The longer the strike goes on, the more common stories like this will be.

“If it lasts for more than a week or two or three, it’s going to effect everybody.”