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Strikes
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Strikes

Once a group of employees is represented by a union, they work under a contract negotiated between the union and their employer. These contracts expire every three years, on average, and must be re-negotiated each time. If a union and an employer cannot reach agreement on the terms and conditions of a new contract, then the union can call employees out on strike – meaning they can walk off the job and onto the picket line.

What happens on a strike?
For most unionized employees who agree to strike:

  • They stop getting a paycheck.
  • Their family’s healthcare and dental benefits are suspended.
  • They are not eligible to receive state unemployment benefits.
  • Their job can be filled with a replacement worker.
  • Their job can be impacted in the future, if there is a loss of customers during the strike.

Can I continue to work during a strike?
Yes, that is your choice. However, unions often impose monetary penalties on any members who work during a strike.

How many union members went on strike in 2009?
Even in last year’s devastating economic turmoil, unions still sent workers without a paycheck almost 435,000 times in 2009, according to federal records, reflecting days that their families went without pay and benefits. Teamsters alone have sent workers home without pay almost 50,000 times so far in 2010.

How long could a strike last?
Even during last year’s difficult economic times, unions led workers out on strike almost 100 times during the year – more than 1/3rd of which lasted more than 30 days, forcing families to go without paychecks for more than a month.

More than that, 13 of these strikes were still going at year-end – meaning that families had to go through the holidays without a paycheck, and hope that their union would bring them back to work in the new year.

Place Time Without a Paycheck
Hilton Hotel - Sacramento
6 months - 22 days
Doyon Aramark
6 months - 21 days . . . and into 2010
Innova Health & Rehabilitation Centers
6 months - 20 days
Brundage Concrete Pumping
5 months - 28 days
Transport Drivers Inc.
5 months - 0 days . . . and into 2010
SK Hand Tool
4 months - 7 days . . . and into 2010
Farbick Power Systems
3 months - 18 days
G.S. Robins Company
3 month - 18 days . . . and into 2010
General Parts
3 months - 7 days . . . and into 2010
Renold Inc.
3 months - 3 days . . . and into 2010
Famous Supply Company
3 months - 19 days
Pan Health Technologies
2 months - 27 days . . . and into 2010
Harborlite Corporation
2 months - 24 days . . . and into 2010
Production Services Support
2 months - 13 days
Pain Enterprises
2 months - 11 days . . . and into 2010
Light Metals Corporation
2 months - 0 days . . . and into 2010
Alden Leeds Inc.
1 month - 29 days . . . and into 2010
Liberty Steamship Company
1 month - 15 days . . . and into 2010
Penelec First Energy
1 month - 27 days
Residence of South Windsor
1 month - 20 days
Dover Chemical
1 month -22 days
Cytec Engineered Materials
1 month - 17 days
Penn Union Corporation
1 month - 16 days
Bell Helicopter
1 month - 13 days
Bemis Company
1 month - 11 days
Precision Tube Company
1 month - 11 days
ACG of Michigan
1 month - 10 days
Seneca Petroleum
1 month - 8 days
LaCrosse Company Store
1 month - 5 days
NBRA
1 month - 5 days
Flint Association Plumbing & Mechanical
1 month - 4 days
Toyal Inc.
1 month - 2 days . . . and into 2010
Liberty Steamship Company
1 month - 1 day
Building Contractors of Flint
1 month

How much could a strike cost me and my family?
As noted earlier, striking union members lose their normal paycheck during a strike and their benefits are often suspended. While unions sometimes provide “strike pay,” this is often only a small fraction of their regular pay.

What is strike pay?
“Strike pay” or “strike benefits” is a variable amount of money that a union might give striking workers, depending on how much money the union has in its “strike fund.” At the Teamsters, for example, strike pay starts at $75 per week - hardly enough to pay normal bills.

How much would a strike cost me and my family?
It depends on how long the strike would last.

 

Enter your hourly wage or hourly equivalent

 

Enter how many days you think you could be on strike

 

 

Your total lost wages

 

Even if you received a 2% wage increase after the strike, it would take you work days to make-up for the wages lost during the strike.

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