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Michiana employers watching UAW contract talks closely this week


You don’t have to have a Ford, GM or Chrysler plant in your town to be nervous about the talks between automakers and the United Auto Workers this week. Some local businesses have plenty to lose if an agreement can’t be reached.

The United Auto Workers and the Big 3 U.S. automakers have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday to reach agreement on a new contract, and the Michiana economy is watching closely.

Three of the biggest auto parts suppliers in the area are Techniplas-owned Nyloncraft in Mishawaka, which makes plastic parts; Tenneco’s Manufacturing Technology Inc. in South Bend, which makes pistons; and NSG in Niles, also known as Pilkington, which makes windows.

How quickly local parts suppliers would need to stop production in the event of a strike would depend on how diversified their client bases are, but they would likely need to shut down within a few weeks, says Jeff Rea, president and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber.

“I think most businesses are hoping that they can find some common ground and have a resolution, and avoid a strike, or if they do have a strike, it will be very short-lived,” Rea said. “But if does stretch on like the writer’s strike is going right now, that could have some devastating effects on the economy.”

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).