Union boosts strike pay for GM workers as talks continue

The United Auto Workers union said Saturday it is increasing strike pay for workers picketing at General Motors as the walkout by more than 49,000 employees nears the four-week mark.

The union said Saturday that weekly pay will rise from $250 to $275 for members on strike, effective Sunday. It moves up the timing of a $25 weekly raise that had been planned to go into effect on Jan. 1. The union also voted to allow members to take part-time jobs and continue to receive strike pay, as long as they perform their picket duty.

The moves came as UAW and General Motors continued contract talks on Saturday, a day after the union made a counterproposal to management. Both sides discussed the issues that include wages, job security and investment in U.S. plants.

Earlier in the week, the union and GM blamed each other for not making more progress toward an agreement on a new contract. GM CEO Mary Barra stepped into the talks Wednesday, asking the union to wrap up outstanding issues and respond to a company offer made on Monday.

The strike began on Sept. 16 and shut down GM’s factories in the U.S. Factories in Canada and Mexico were later forced to close due to a lack of parts.

The strike has passed the point where GM can make up lost production, according to auto industry analysts. Workers, meanwhile, have been depending on their strike pay rather than their full pay from GM of about $1,200 per week before deductions.

GM has 6,877 employees in Indiana in plants in Marion (979 workers), Kokomo (420), Bedford (933) and Fort Wayne (4,545).

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