UAW boosts strike pay to $275 per week, effective Sunday

 eu.freep.com  10/12/2019 20:38:00   Eric D. Lawrence

UAW members will see their strike pay increase to $275 per week, effective Sunday.

The UAW International Executive Board voted Saturday for the increase, which is a raise from the current $250 per week rate and moves up a strike pay hike that had been planned to take effect Jan. 1. The strike against General Motors, involving more than 46,000 UAW members, is nearing the end of its fourth week.

The motion also allows members striking GM and Aramark to take onpart-time jobs without reducing strike payas long as they maintain their picket duty. Previously, part-time work that exceeded strike pay would void strike pay, the UAW said.

UAW-represented janitors who work for Aramark at five GM sites in Michigan and Ohio went on strike a day before autoworkers after working since March 2018 on a contract extension. Talks on a new contract for those workers are being conducted separately from GM negotiations.

More: One GM plant's struggle to find UAW strikers and those who won't give up

More: UAW strike costing governments more than $200M per week in lost tax revenue, CAR concludes

UAW President Gary Jones framed the strike pay increase as an effort to acknowledge the sacrifices of striking workers, many of whom have had to use their savings or seek help from family members to make ends meet.

UAW members and their families are sacrificing for all of us, Jones said in a statement. We are all standing together for our future. This action reflects the UAW commitment and solidarity to all of our members and their families who are taking a courageous stand together to protect our middle-class way of life.

GM declined comment on the strike pay increase.

Negotiators for the union and GM continued discussions Saturday, the 27th day of the union's nationwide strike against the automaker. The union presented a counterproposal Friday evening, after a day and a half of sharp exchanges between the two sides.

The pay increase is likely tobe seen as positive news by those on the picket line, even if it's not clear how long the strike will continue.

"It'll be welcome relief for the strikers. And means a tentative agreement may still be a way off," saidKristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

While an extra $25 per week per worker might not sound like a lot, it will add up. For 46,000 workers, that would equal $1.15 million more in strike pay each week. The UAW had about $800 million in its strike fund before the strike, and after the fourth week, the union would have spentabout $46 million based on the $250 per week rate.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.For updates and complete coverage of the GM strike, visit Freep.com/autos. Staff writer Phoebe Wall Howard contributed to this report.

« Go back