Prepared to ‘adapt’
Dziczek noted some advancement, such as last year’s contracts between the UAW and the Detroit 3. The contracts eliminated the two-tier pay system, allowing entry-level workers higher pay, but it didn’t touch pensions or other seniority issues. And what the Detroit 3 decides, Dziczek said, can set a precedent for suppliers.
Kelly Services’ Sowers said the key to hiring and retaining employees will be for companies to engage workers and allow them to work their way up.
“We’re not predicting a huge influx of talent or labor,” Sowers said. “We as an organization at Kelly, we’re forecasting the next 10 to 15 years to be a tight labor market.”
As automakers, suppliers and research experts decide which course of action is best for assembling a work force, Cooper-Standard’s Griffin said one thing is certain: The industry will readjust, as it always does.
“I think we’re holding our own, and I think most of us are looking out there and are anticipating that it’s probably as challenging now as it’s going to be,” Griffin said. “If this is just our new normal, we’ll adapt and be OK and we don’t want to be too far ahead of ourselves.”