The UAW wants to increase that significantly while the automakers want to try and keep a lid on any increase, Also, it’s important to note that this does not include temporary workers who earn far less than those who are full time.
It’s Day 5 of the UAW strike and it sure looks like it’s going to ratchet up even more. UAW President Shawn Fain says he’s going to ask more union locals to stand up and walk out by noon this Friday unless the Detroit automakers meet the union’s demands. That means automakers will likely lay off more workers at plants that are not on strike, but can’t get the parts they need from the ones that are on strike. Fain accuses the automakers of using layoffs to intimidate his members. But it seems unrealistic for the car companies to keep plants open when they can’t get parts to make anything.
LAID OFF WORKERS TO GET UAW STRIKE MONEY
So, what happens to those laid off workers? They can file for state unemployment, if their state will pay for workers who are idled because of a strike. Michigan, for example, will pay unemployment to laid off workers for 14 to 20 weeks. We estimate that a full-time traditional UAW worker would probably qualify for about $650 a week in unemployment, while a temp worker may get around $450. Fain says the union will pay about $500 a week to those workers from its strike fund, which will get them to about 80% of their take home pay. Under the old contract, the automakers were required to pay Supplemental Unemployment Benefits to laid off workers. But since that contract has expired the car companies won’t be paying any SUB benefits, which is why the union needs to divert some of its strike pay to laid off workers.
The UAW strike shows no sign of slowing down, but now GM and Ford are sort of turning the tables on the union. The UAW went on strike at part of Ford’s Wayne assembly plant, so Ford laid off the rest of the 600 workers at the plant who were not on strike. And GM laid off 2,000 workers at its Fairfax plant that makes the Cadillac XT4 and Chevrolet Malibu. That’s because the union shut down the Wentzville plant that makes the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, but it also makes stampings for the Fairfax plant. We’re likely going to see more if the union expands its strike to other plants. It makes no sense for the car companies to keep plants open if they can’t get the parts they need. And this also puts pressure on the union because if it strikes more plants, more of its members are going to get laid off.
One of the union’s demands in a new contract is to slash that 8-year transition to only 90 days. The automakers are offering to cut it to 4 years. We shall see where this goes.
Also keep your eyes on UNIFOR in Canada, they could potentially strike as well. Stay tuned for more updates
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
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