A local management professor says the United Auto Workers strike is taking its toll on supply chains.

Nearly 13,000 workers began a strike last week, walking out of three factories owned by Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The UAW’s president met with the Big Three again on Monday, but no deal has been reached.

WPI professor Joseph Sarkis said the strike comes at a tough time for the auto industry as manufacturers are still rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said manufacturers usually have a buffer in inventory, but a prolonged strike could have severe consequences.

"Supply chains, the most vulnerable portions, are the smaller supply chain members at the very down-tier, downstream tier of the supply chain,” Sarkis said. “And some of them, if there is a prolonged strike, may actually go bankrupt. This means a lot of companies who are very vulnerable right now to bankruptcy that are part of the supply chain."

Sarkis said the most vulnerable companies are those who supply products and service to automakers. He said some manufacturers have only around 45 to 60 days worth of inventory.