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The union benefit, which breaks down to $50 per weekday, is available to workers on Day 15 of a strike, according to the United Auto Workers website. That comes to $6.25 an hour, below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 -- or $13,000 a year, which is barely above the federal poverty line of $12,490 for a single-person household.
GM autoworker Patricia Brown, who lives in Detroit, told FOX Business on Monday that her biggest fear is "that we might be here for a while... and we can't make it on $250 a week. You know, GM might not want to budge. So I'm just here trying to prove a point, that's it."
We can't make it on $250 a week. You know, GM might not want to budge.
The weekly pay barely covers rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. "We don't want to do it at all, but I guess we're going to be out here as long as we can," Brown said.
Workers have to meet a few qualifications to get strike pay. They must participate in the labor action, and if they perform outside work earning more than $250 a week, they forfeit the assistance. Those workers still qualify for specified health care benefits available through the UAW Strike and Defense Fund.
The UAW will raise its strike pay to $275 a week in 2020.
This is the first strike against GM in 12 years. More than 49,000 UAW members walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday. UAW is demanding a bigger share in the company's profits, including through annual pay raises.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.