Yellen says it’s too soon to gauge economic impact of UAW strike

Yellen says it’s too soon to gauge economic impact of UAW strike

It’s too early to know how the ongoing autoworkers strike will impact the U.S. economy, Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday during an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“I think it’s premature to be making forecasts about what it means for the economy,” she said. “It would depend very much on how long the strike lasts, and exactly who’s affected by it.”

Thousands of United Auto Workers (UAW) employed by the Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — have been on strike since early Friday morning, as negotiators continue contract talks.

The workers are demanding higher wages, shorter work weeks and better benefits. The auto companies have said the demands would be too costly for the industry.

UAW President Shawn Fain told news outlets Monday that talks with the automakers over the weekend made little progress, and that expanding the strikes was a possibility.

“We’ll see how things progress the next few days, and if we have to amp up pressure that is what we’re going to do,” he told MSNBC.

Yellen is not directly involved in the negotiations. The Biden administration has pressed for a fair resolution and plans to send White House adviser Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit this week to help reach a deal.

“We want to see the two sides come to a win-win agreement,” Yellen said. “President Biden has made clear he expects them to work hard to negotiate 24/7 to get to a solution, and so we’re hoping that that will happen soon.”