If the GM strikes goes on for a long time, what kind of impact will it have on the Rock County area?
Depending how long the strike lasts, UW-Whitewater economist Russ Kashian says striking workers will first dip into their savings to keep up their lifestyle and when that's gone they will have to pull back on that lifestyle.
And that will affect goods and services purchased at community businesses. But Forward Janesville President John Beckord says the impact may not be as great as it once was. He says only six to eight percent of the Rock County population now works in the automotive industry. Down quite a bit from ten to fifteen years ago.
Economist Kashian says there's one group that will feel it. GM suppliers, he says, will feel a pinch almost immediately.
In fact, many of the seven hundred and eighty workers at Janesville Lear Corporation, which makes interiors for GM cars, are preparing for layoffs.
UAW is not the only union at odds with management in Janesville. Teachers still don't have a contract but as union president Dave Parr points out teachers can't strike. But his union will support the autoworkers any way they can if asked.