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GM dealerships may have built up some parts back stock in anticipation of a possible strike

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors Co. has curtailed delivery of service parts used to repair cars and trucks at GM dealerships across the country, the company acknowledged.

GM’s network of parts distribution centers and warehouses wasn’t really touched by the UAW’s last national strike in 2007, which lasted only two days, or during a long string of local strikes against GM plants in the 1990s or a selective strike during contract talks in 1984.

This time around, however, the 49,000 UAW members employed by GM have set pickets outside all of GM’s installations in the United States, including the distribution centers and warehouses that are at the heart of the company’s service parts operations.

(GM Cuts Off Health Care to Strikers as Tensions Escalate)

GM spokesman Jim Cain said the company has other alternatives to delivering parts to dealerships. AC Delco, for example, has large accounts for parts with companies such as Pep Boys. In addition, large dealers and dealer groups have their own parts warehouses that still hold quantities of parts used for repairs.

UAW Region 1 strikers walk the line at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

Cain said GM also developed an app for dealers that allows them to trade parts among themselves to help ensure that customer vehicles can be repaired.

Recalls are another sensitive issue for GM as the strike unfolds. Some recalls involve software updates, while others can be handled by technicians, who make adjustments right at the dealership, Cain noted.

Only last week, GM announced it was recalling more than 3.4 million big pickup trucks and SUVs – the company’s biggest money earners – fix a brake problem under pressure from the U.S. government.

(Health Care Remains Formidable Hurdle to Clear in GM-UAW Talks)

The recall covers the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups from the 2014 through 2018 model years. Also included are the Cadillac Escalade from 2015 to 2017, and the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban and Tahoe from 2015 through 2018, according to the Associated Press.

GM said that as it ages, the pump in the power-assist brakes can put out less vacuum power than needed, increasing stopping distance and the risk of a crash, AP noted.

The recall comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the problem last November.

Meanwhile, negotiators for GM and the UAW appeared to make little progress towards a settlement that could end the strike that has closed down GM production.

The UAW’s walk out has crimped replacement parts availability.

However, spokesmen for GM and the UAW both denied reports that Trump administration or the Trump White House has been involved in negotiations.

The impact from the strike spread across the U.S.-Canadian border.

(How Might a GM Strike Impact Customers)

Jennifer Wright, director of communications for GM of Canada, said the strike has forced the company to begin closing operation in Ontario. “As of this afternoon, approximately half of the production at the Oshawa Assembly Plant has been impacted by the UAW strike. Operations at CAMI and St. Catharines remain unimpacted at this time and we continue to monitor the situation,” Wright said.

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