UAW takes an about-face on strike pay
With reform candidates now in power and President Ray Curry fighting for reelection, the UAW late Tuesday announced its International Executive Board raised strike pay by $100 to $500 per week, a move establishment-backed delegates rejected seven months ago.
The union late Tuesday cited continuing inflation plus high-profile negotiations coming this fall with the Detroit 3 automakers as reasons for the raise, which the board unanimously approved. The International Executive Board previously raised strike pay to $400 per week from $275 per week in June 2022.
“This increase will immediately help members who are on strike,” Curry said in a statement. “Increasing the strike pay gives notice to employers that we have high expectations as we head into bargaining, and that the UAW is united in fighting for economic justice for all members.”
Last July, delegates voted to approve a raise in strike pay to $500 per week after the measure was brought to the floor of the union’s 38th constitutional convention by reform-minded caucuses. That decision, however, was reversed on the final day of the convention, with many of the delegates who had voted for it having already left the gathering.
The reversal came after then-Secretary-Treasurer Frank Stuglin told attendees that the extra $100 would have cost the union $29 million had it been in place during the 40-day strike against General Motors in 2019. It also came after delegates backing the incumbent Reuther Administrative Caucus staged an hour-and-a-half-long filibuster to protest what they viewed as unfair and unnecessary debates on resolutions from earlier in the week, a sign of the UAW establishment flexing its power.
Since July, however, reform candidates have won six board seats, ousting incumbent leaders like Stuglin. Curry is in a runoff with challenger Shawn Fain for president, with voting set to conclude at the end of February.
Should Curry win reelection, he said restoring the cost-of-living adjustment for Detroit 3 workers would be among his top priorities in contract negotiations this fall.