TOLEDO, Ohio — The impact of the UAW strike against the Detroit Big Three is affecting more than just autoworkers. The suppliers linked to the plant are now laying people off.
KUKA, which has a location in Toledo, as well as many in Detroit, is one of them.
Some of the employees of the Germany-based auto supplier, who are part of UAW Local 12, were signing up for strike benefits at the union's hall in central Toledo since they went off the job on the same day as select plants of auto workers were told to begin their strike.
But, KUKA employees don't get strike pay, which is why chairman David Vickars said people are signing up for the benefits.
"We've got a lot of people whose insurance is going to run out at the end of next month," Vickars said. "Our supplemental employees, it's good to get them down here and signed up."
Putting your name on the list ensures there isn't a lapse in coverage.
Vickars says the employees don't want a strike, but their hand was forced. So, signing up is both proactive and reactive.
"We were laid off almost immediately," he said. "As soon as they went on strike, we couldn't move any parts, so I would say it's a little bit of both."
Another supplier for the Big Three is Dana Inc., headquartered in Maumee.
When asked if Dana Inc., has any plans to lay off employees while the strike is ongoing, a spokesperson provided the following response:
"We are hopeful the parties will reach a resolution soon. We continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will adjust our plans accordingly. It would be inappropriate to speculate how it might play out. Given the unpredictable nature of this, we are not planning to provide a day-by-day assessment of what Dana plants are operating at what capacity."
KUKA supplies parts for the Jeep Wrangler, which is the second best-selling Jeep model and is a product of the Toledo Assembly Complex.
Vickars said he's not surprised that the Toledo Jeep plant was one of the three that UAW President Shawn Fain called on to strike when the contracts expired last week.
While Vickars hopes the strike comes to an end soon, he said they will continue picketing as long as they can until they get a good contract.