WASHINGTON — Industry groups representing the Detroit Three automakers, suppliers and equipment manufacturers on Thursday urged the Biden administration to improve efforts to address the ongoing blockade at the Ambassador Bridge at the U.S.-Canada border.
Protesters in Canada have been blocking access to and from the bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, since Monday evening and refuse to leave until COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers entering Canada are rescinded.
Leaders from the American Automotive Policy Council, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association said the disruptions at the bridge and other border crossings are "adding additional strain to the automotive supply chain that has already led to reduced production and may spread the longer the disruptions last."
The council represents Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
"U.S. automakers and suppliers are doing everything possible to maximize production with what they have, working to keep lines running and shifts scheduled to minimize the impact on American autoworkers," the groups said in a joint statement.
"Automakers and suppliers appreciate that the Biden administration is following the situation at the northern border closely and taking actions to minimize the disruptions at these critical border crossings on which the U.S. auto industry rely," they continued. "We urge the administration to enhance their efforts and continue working with the Canadian government to minimize the impact on American automakers, suppliers as well as their workers and consumers."
The three trade associations also urged "swift action" by the Canadian government to mitigate the impacts to autoworkers and suppliers on both sides of the border.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also urged Canadian authorities to quickly resolve the bridge blockade and reopen traffic.
"It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade. They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy, supporting good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families," she said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat, said auto workers in his district have "endured a tough year," citing pandemic-related supply chain issues and the ongoing chip shortage.
"We must keep the border between the United States and Canada open to allow goods, including auto parts and agricultural products, to freely move between our two countries," he said in a statement.
Kildee said he's in touch with the Canadian government to ensure the border crossing is "fully reopened as soon as possible."