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Susan Tompor: UAW workers picketing GM must wait for $250 a week in strike pay

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

DETROIT -- What does $250 a week in strike pay really add up to these days?

Not a lot at all. UAW strike pay is below the national poverty line, below the Michigan minimum wage and even below what the average retiree gets in Social Security. Even many part-time workers see bigger paychecks than that.

What's more important: The strike pay for GM workers walking the picket line isn't even going to arrive quickly.

"Strike assistance pay is available after the 15th day of the strike," according to a UAW posting online.

"They qualify from the beginning, but have eight days to sign up for the first payment which is distributed on the 15th," said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg in an email.

A bonus check is paid the week prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, according to the UAW Strike FAQ.

 

The UAW notes online that the union currently offers strike assistance of $250 a week -- or $50 a day Monday through Friday. On Jan. 1, strike pay is set to rise to $275 a week or $55 a day.

Breaking down the numbers, a $250 weekly strike benefit isn't a lot on many levels.

It's $6.25 an hour, based on a 40-hour work week. And it would be below Michigan's minimum wage of $9.45 an hour.

(Even many people working part-time hours would tend to make more than $250 a week. Median weekly earnings for part-time workers in the United States were $271 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

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