UAW Strike: Are Shorts and Puts in Play?

Photo Credit: GM

Investors are eying the short interest ratios on General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis today as the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike began at midnight with no deadline on the horizon. Today members walked out at three plants: a GM site in Wentzville, Missouri; a Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford assembly location in Wayne, Michigan as carmakers failed to reach contract agreements by the Thursday night deadline.

Wentzville workers said they view the union’s demands in contract negotiations as needed recompense for concessions given up during the Great Recession.

“At one time, UAW workers had it all,” said Leslie Savage, a Wentzville line worker of 10 years. “It’s not about what we’re trying to get, it’s what we’re trying to get back.”

As workers get closer to retirement many are focused on collective bargains over retirement benefits and medical care.

UAW President Shawn Fain recently appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and dismissed the potential of a the strike negatively affecting the economy. “The price of vehicles went up 30%. In the last four years, CEO pay went up 40%. In the last four years, worker pay went up 6%. We’re not the problem,” Fain said.

The auto workers’ 4 year contract demands are a 40% pay raise over four years, or 46% when compounded annually, including an immediate 20% jump. Full-time assembly plant workers at Ford and GM currently make $32.32 an hour, while part-timers earn about $17 an hour. At Stellantis, full-time employees earn $31.77 an hour and part-time workers make almost $16 an hour.

Tuesday night, Ford’s CEO said they’ve made their most generous offer in the last 80 years, however, with the strike now in effect, the UAW are using a bottleneck strategy in which the union targets plants that make vital parts like engines and transmissions.

Suffice to say, while shorts and puts may ultimately be in play depending on the foreseeable time of the strike, seasoned fund managers that deal in retail investments regularly say that opening a directional position right after major news has dropped can be a mistake. While some investors are taking short positions on short-term movements, many will say the news of the strike isn’t an actionable cause to take short positions just yet.

Michael Pearce and Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economists at Oxford Economics, said “As union participation and strike action is still low from a historical perspective, we don’t think this marks a turning point in labor power, nor does it suggest an increased risk of a durable price-wage spiral over the coming years. We estimate a strike covering all workers would directly reduce U.S. GDP by 0.2%-0.3% due to a 30% decline in motor vehicle output for the duration of the strike.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x