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UAW Labor Strike Fallout Concerns and Actions

September 28, 2023

Businesses that may face their own fallout from the UAW strike against the Detroit Three should be cognizant of some resources and obligations. During ASE’s bi-weekly Conversations with Mike & Tony webinar, we asked the participants if they foresaw a direct impact from the strike in the next 30 days. 26% said they did, and the biggest percentage of those indicated the impact would be employee layoffs.

Employers should be aware of resources the state has that could alleviate this impact. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economics (LEO) offers resources to workers impacted by the strike. If workers that are not on strike become unemployed, they may be eligible for unemployment compensation from the state. The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) provides workers guidance through its application system.

  • The Claimant Roadmap – An easy-to-follow, six-step guide to applying for and understanding unemployment benefits.
  • UIA Community Connect – A partnership with local groups to provide guidance for workers from underserved groups filing for jobless benefits and employers facing a decision about laying off workers.

Employers should also consider the following State of Michigan resources to address their laid off workers.

Work Share – This program allows employees whose hours are reduced to receive partial unemployment benefits to make up income due to lower pay during the time their hours are reduced.

Registration for Work Waiver – This program allows an employer to register their employees for short-term layoffs, and the UIA will waive the requirement that workers must be in a job search to receive benefits. The idea in front of this program is that employers can hold onto their trained workforce, and they can return when the temporary layoff ends.

Employer Filed Claims – In this program an employer can submit unemployment claim information on behalf of their workers. This expedites the claim and ensures accuracy and security of worker information thereby reducing the potential for fraud.

In a worst case situation, if your business is over one hundred employees in size and is facing a mass layoff due to closure, and the temporary closure impacts one hundred or more employees, it may have to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). A mass layoff is: “when a single site suffers an employment loss which affects at least 33% of the site’s full-time workforce and at least 50 full-time employees at that site during any 30-day period. Regardless of percentages, if 500 or more employees are laid off within a 30-day period at one site, that will be a mass layoff. The same figures reached within a 90-day period because of separate layoffs may also trigger the notice requirement, unless the company can show the layoffs were the result of separate and distinct actions and causes.” – CCH AnswersNow

What if my employees must visit a site where a strike is occurring?

ASE members recently shared some useful information in the ASE Member Forum on what they advise their employees to do if they must go to a strike site:

  • Reach out to the Security Department at the strike site to get instructions.
  • Advise employees going to a strike site to drive slowly while crossing a picket line and proceed onto the site/location when the path is clear. Do not try to force your way through a picket line.
  • Plan for delays in getting to the site and allow sufficient time to cross a picket line.
  • Leave car windows rolled up and doors locked even if prompted to do otherwise by a picketer.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle until after you have completely crossed the picket line and are inside the site.
  • Do not rev your engine or speed through a picket line.
  • Do not engage in a verbal or physical altercation with a striker and do not respond to verbal threats or damage to property.

ASE will continue to monitor the UAW strike against the Detroit Three and continue to provide information that will support our membership.

Sources: Michigan Manufacturers Association. MMA Employment & Workforce Policy and Government Affairs Committee memo to members (9/22/2023); ASE Poll during 9/22/2023, Conversations with Mike & Tony program, ASE Member Forum

By Michael Burns, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE.


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