UAW families bracing for financial toll of potential strike

If the two sides do not come to an agreement, a strike is possible as soon as Thursday night.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 8:14 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - UAW workers and their families are bracing for the financial toll a strike could have on them.

Ryan Lukasik says his family has been preparing since the beginning of the year for this moment.

“You set money aside, you don’t spend on big items at this time, you kind of hope for the best,” Lukasik said.

With the UAW’s current contract expiring in just 48 hours, members are preparing for a hopefully temporary time of limited pay.

“We prepare for these things,” Lukasik said. “At the beginning of the year, you should have been preparing for this strike. Setting extra funds aside just to make sure everything is covered -- your monthly bills, food, those types of things.”

Lukasik’s wife works with him at Toledo’s GM plant. So, on strike pay, they will be bringing in $1,000 a week for their family of six.

“We aren’t certain how long this could go on, so we definitely have been more lean on our supplies and things. And yes, we won’t have steak or lobster or those types of things, there could come a point where it’s ramen noodles. So you definitely want to prepare for this, if it’s a long haul,” Lukasik said.

Tony Totty is the president of UAW Local 14. He says they’ve prepared for this.

“Coming out of this last strike, we knew that our members weren’t ready for the strike. Because of that, the strike was shorter than it probably should have been, and we got less justice in that agreement. Some of those issues are still lingering over into this agreement. So us preparing our members better with the financial tools that they needed and communicating much more, I think they’re ready for this moment,” Totty said.

Lukasik said no one wants to strike, but the end result is worth it.

“As a union, your goal is to be together as one. The person next to me should be making the same wages that I make. We’re a family of brothers and sisters,” Lukasik said. “There’s a way of life of the middle class that’s being stripped away from us and we want to maintain that. Not just for us, but for future generations.”

Lukasik is a third-generation UAW member and says that his kids will be out on the lines with him, fighting for what’s fair.

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