Unintended Consequences Of Strikes: The Far-Reaching Effects Of The UAW And Hollywood Work Stoppages

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Industry, Labor Relations Ink, Labor Relations Insight, News, Strikes, Union Leaders

When union members authorize a strike, they agree to put their wallets on the line, but that decision can filter down to infinite levels beyond those individuals and their employers. A walkout’s financial fallout spreads far and wide, and this type of collateral damage can presently be observed through the UAW and WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes.

We have already discussed the UAW strike’s impacts upon ground zero factories, auto suppliers, and non-union auto workers. We also dove into the recent WGA strike’s influence on the future of AI in other industries. Yet there are still other layers to be explored, which brings to mind a theatrical quote from UAW President Shawn Fain, who bragged: “We’re not going to wreck the economy. The truth is we are going to wreck the billionaire economy.” Did he really think these words through?

Fain made no secret of his desire to hurt the so-called “big guys.” Yet on the way to his targets, he also hurled bowling balls at a countless number of “smaller guys,” who never signed up for the resulting financial damage.

Thus far, hits to the U.S. economy have totaled over $4 billion from the UAW strike and $6 billion from the Hollywood strikes. Locally, striking workers possess reduced spending power, and that burden trickles onto retailers and landlords, and more. That’s only the beginning.

Countless other industries feel the pain: With the UAW strike, the fallout obviously includes suppliers, dealers, and the like. Yet restaurants and retailers near auto plants also suffer from lack of business. Those same industries are also suffering due to show-business strikes, which are now straining caterers, hotel workers, dry cleaners, costume designers, lumber companies, construction workers, and more. 

Heck, even horse wranglers count as aggrieved parties of the Hollywood strikes.Yep, you read that correctly. Strike effects are stretching into Montana and Texas, where the wildly popular Yellowstone TV franchise spinoffs, including 1923 and 6666, halted various stages of production.

Delta Airlines is being hit from all ends: Due to the UAW and Hollywood strikes, the airline is suffering an especially “significant” downturn in revenue that is impacting multiple hubs, not only in Detroit and Los Angeles but also in Atlanta. The latter’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport ordinarily sees daily traffic related to TV shows and movies that film in Georgia for the state’s generous tax breaks. It’s a mini-Hollywood that links with other industries that are also experiencing a downturn in business.

That’s not all, folks: Inevitably, struck companies will have to pass higher labor costs down to consumers. Cars will become more expensive, and Netflix is already planning to raise subscription prices once the Hollywood strikes fully resolve to help absorb the impact of the WGA contract and whatever comes of the SAG/AFTRA strike. 

In other words, unions are causing a world of hurt to an endless stream of companies beyond intended targets. It’s an especially raw deal for these third parties, who do not receive any benefits, only harm, from strikes.

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