GM strike: UAW workers come in at $ 250 a week when walkout draws

To beat General Motors worker Renee Dixon, the walkout – now on its 19th day – means having to say no to its kids.

"Being able to go to McDonald's for a treat after school – we can't do it right now," Dixon told CBS MoneyWatch while on her way to collect her strike money in the union hall near her home in Roseville , Michigan. "I try hardest to explain to my children something extra, we can't do it."

Striking employees of the car giant receive $ 250 a week from United Auto Workers, a sum that does not come close to replacing their salary. A typical GM worker earns about $ 30 an hour, or $ 1[ads1]200 a week, according to the Detroit Free Press. And as the strike nears the end of the third week, some workers say they are stressed about paying the bills and cutting expenses.

A full-time GM employee for the last three and a half years, Dixon is working on a line mounting doors at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The company has said it plans to idle at the factory from January, though it may continue to depend on how the calls progress.

The only provider of her children, aged 11 and 7, said that the financial difficulties of being on strike are worth it if it leads to an improved employment contract. For Dixon, this is largely about job stability. "The people at the table for us know what we want, what we need to ensure a better future," she added.

  renee.png ae General Motors & # 39; Detroit-Hamtramck plant, said the ongoing strike is worth it despite financial difficulties.

GM and UAW resumed contract negotiations on Friday morning in hopes of ending the standoff, which has sidelined nearly 50,000 workers. Talks Center for Health Care salary and company use of temps.

Striking GM workers also receive support from other unions and the community, both on poor lines and in food donations and diapers left at UAW halls.

"Financial institutions help us – if we're behind, they've told us they are more than happy to work with us," said Amy Penny, a seven-year employee at GM's Lansing Delta Township facility, or LDT, in Lansing, Michigan .

"We will have the largest real estate sale known to man," Penny said of plans to supplement her strike salary. "We're definitely in it for the long term," she added.

GM's tiered system of salaries and benefits is troublesome for Dixon and Penny, both of whom earn hourly wages of $ 30 an hour after eight years. It is a step above temporary workers, accounting for about 7% of GM's US workforce and earning as little as $ 15 an hour.

"I stand next to workers who do the same as me, and have been for a year-and-a-half or more, and they are still working on a temporary status," Dixon said. "It's hard when we get some kind of bonus, raise or holiday day when these people aren't qualified for it – it's unfair."

The sense of injustice can be exacerbated by an economy that is in its tenth year of expansion, which has boosted corporate profits.

Thousands of car workers strike GM: "We lined up for GM when they needed us."

"Workers see an economy doing very well, and workers in many facilities have pushed for better conditions and done it successfully," said Bill Spriggs, chief economist for AFL-CIO. "It is understandable that workers will have better conditions when they see companies making a big profit."

GM said in an email that the company is working "hard to reach a deal that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business." A spokeswoman declined further comment.

Strict workers, non-UAW workers and contract workers lose more than $ 30 million a day, estimates the Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing, Michigan. GM could even make a profit of $ 660 million if the strike continues through the weekend, the company added.

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