A closer look at the effects of the GM strike

It has been a little over two months since the GM strike ended. However, the ripple effects of the strike continue to affect not only the steel industry, but apparently the nation as well. GM plants have been working nonstop since the end of the strike to keep dealerships well stocked and to keep customers from moving on from competitors. Mandatory Sunday overtime shifts had been announced over the holiday break and they may continue well into 2020. The winter is typically a slower time for most automotive manufacturers with new model years just over the horizon and many workers having elected to use banked vacation time towards the end of the year. However, the strike at GM, which lasted weeks longer than many had predicted, has placed GM behind the eight ball when it comes to keeping stock at a normal level. Luckily GM, in preparation for the strike, increased their number of finished vehicles in stock to somewhat compensate for amount of down time created by the UAW strike. As for the national impact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US added 266,000 jobs in November. The Bureau credited this increase to better than expected manufacturing hires most notably by that of GM post-strike.

Reasons for the Strike

For those that may be unaware for the reasons behind the strike, let’s do a quick recap. There were several main topics which the UAW and GM needed to hash out. However, these were the ones that were most noteworthy.

1. Setting a new path to full employment to seasonal, part time, and temp workers

2. Employee contribution to healthcare

3. Bonus structure and profit sharing

4. Closing of plants in several states, along with what the future holds regarding production over the border and where GM will plan to produce their line of electric trucks.

Depending on who you ask, each topic was the main sticking point as to why the strike went on for longer than expected. As is the case with most labor disputes, both sides made several concessions that left some with the feeling that they didn’t get exactly what they wanted when the strike ended on Oct 25th.

What the future holds

The silver lining for both GMs competitors, as well as upstream suppliers of automotive products, is that the terms set by GM did lay the groundwork for both Ford and FCA to quickly resolve their UAW contracts and avoid similar strikes. Acting as a blueprint of sorts for the other manufacturers to gauge a ballpark figure that will satisfy the union. The UAW voted 56% in favor for a new 4-year deal that is very similar to that struck by GM. FCA followed closely behind with a deal of their own that will create more jobs in Michigan and which also includes several billions of dollars in investments. Hopes are that these new deals will bring a sense of clarity and confidence to the industry as we start the new year. With any luck, automotive manufacturing will be strong in 2020 and help offset the less than optimistic manufacturing forecasts that have been released by industry experts.

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OUR ORDERING PROCESS: HOW BEST TO ORDER STEEL FROM US...

At Hascall Steel we understand that part of being an expert is being able to tailor steel to your needs. With that in mind there are some key areas that will help us fulfill your steel order in a way that is best suited to your company’s capacities. By working with our sales team, we can adjust several aspects of your order to make things easier for your team members. Next are some areas to keep in mind that can improve efficiency and quality.

1. MATERIAL SPECIFICATIONS

Often customers place an order with the following basic information: Quantity/Gauge/Width/Length/Steel Type…

However there are quite a few QUALIFIERS that will help us all get the best value from the informational exchange.

2. TOLERANCES

When discussing material with our Sales Team, be sure to include tolerances for your gauge, width, and length (if applicable). In some cases, Hascall can meet tolerances as low as +/-.001 on gauge, +/-.003 on width, and +/-.015 on length. Specifications – Many steel specifications come with sub categories that can alter chemistries and mechanical boundaries. Be sure to have the full specification when ordering or talk with your sales representative to discuss options.

3. PACKAGING

Proper packaging can help reduce unloading and production time. ID – We offer ID sizes in 16”, 20”, and 24” OD – We are able to provide OD sizes up to 72” Skidding – Standard or custom skidding available, just let us know how you would like your material skidded to best meet your equipment needs.
Paper – Protective paper is standard on all orders but can be applied with standard or full wrapping both with and without Hascall Logos. Max Coil and Skid Weight – Coils can be adjusted to meet your max lift and coil capacities.
Offloading – Material can be shipped skidded or standing and set for Forklift on the side or the rear of the bed. Material can also be shipped ready for sheet lifter or overhead crane offload.

4. DELIVERY

Steel is only good if it gets there when you need it. At Hascall we have an experienced Logistics team that will ensure that your steel arrives on time in the way that best suits your needs. Whether you would like delivery via our in-house Steel Man Transportation service or if you would like to pick up your material personally, our team can set up appointments that meet your schedule. Our Logistics team can also arrange a 3rd party carrier if needed. Delivery dates, times, and address should be discussed with your Sales Representative prior to ordering.

5. THE UNKNOWN

And lastly, we know each customer is unique. There may be special requests that we would love to accommodate. These may range from a sample of the steel attached to the packaging, to increased tag requirements and frequencies. We are happy to work with you in order to be your trusted choice in slit steel coil and blanks.