Skip to Content

Local sheriff’s Department feeling pressure of UAW strike


The United Auto Workers strike is causing the Cole County Sheriff's Department to purchase vehicles in advance.

Sheriff John Wheeler said he was given permission by the Cole County Commission to use next year's budget to buy new vehicles now, instead of later.

"We're already having trouble getting cars," Wheeler said. "You add in the strike, then that really complicates things.

He said buying vehicles has been difficult ever since the pandemic, but now, he said they didn't know what vehicles would be available next year and how long the strike would last.

Wheeler said he got permission from the commission to purchase six new vehicles, and so far has only been able to get two.

However, he said this is not impacting operations. Wheeler said the sheriff's department tries to make new patrol cars last 3-4 years, and when new cars come in, older cars get retired.

"We can make do a year probably without getting cars, but if we go two years, that means we wouldn't get any new cars then until 2025, and that could hamper the mission," Wheeler said. "That could hamper response."

He said since patrol cars are driven often and at fast speeds, those vehicles need to be replaced often to ensure safety.

On top of this, he said two vehicles are currently at a dealership awaiting maintenance. He said the department has two Dodge Chargers needing parts, one for a steering issue and one for a rear camera issue.

"Both of those are on hold because (the dealership) doesn't know when the parts are going to come in, and they're saying it's because of the strike," Wheeler said.

Meanwhile, one local mechanic said if dealerships can't get parts, people should shop around.

"If somebody is saying you can't get the parts, try other sources," said Eric Riddles, service manager at Custom Complete Automotive. "If they are going to the dealer and the dealer's going, 'Well, they're not producing that part yet,' go down the street and try somebody else and see if they have access to it."

Riddles said Custom Complete Automotive is not yet feeling the impact of the strike. He said they don't use many UAW-provided and produced parts, so there are still other options available.

However, he said the strike could soon affect the everyday driver even more. He said vehicle prices will likely rise no matter which way the strike goes.

"Once they struck, in my opinion, prices are not going to go down for new cars," Riddles said. "The strike will make them be produced less, so the value of what's there is going to go up. [The workers] getting paid more will make the cars that they can produce cost more."

He said prices going up will actually be good for the repair business.

"This will help our business of repairs because people won't be able to purchase a new car, which means older cars will, across the board, have to be fixed longer," Riddles said.

Article Topic Follows: Mid-Missouri Business
auto repair
uaw strike
vehicle prices

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content