As the UFCW strike against Stop & Shop passes its one-week mark, strikers won’t receive any strike pay from the union for another week.
When union members go out on strike, most know that they will not collect a paycheck from their employer while they’re walking a picket line.
Many unions, however, provide some form of financial relief for members who are on strike or locked out of their jobs due to labor disputes.
In most cases, though, union members have to wait for a period of time in order to collect union “strike pay” and the amounts vary from union to union.
As the strike by 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers union against Stop & Shop passes the one-week mark on Thursday, strikers will have to be out picketing for one more week before the UFCW gives them any strike pay.
The reason for the wait is due to the union’s rules. The UFCW, like most unions, wait to pay moneys from strike funds until after members have been on strike for at least two weeks.
According to the UFCW’s Constitution, financial aid to strikers, “shall not be payable for the first seven days of the strike or lockout and shall apply only to those members who have been on strike or locked out for fourteen days in succession.”
Unfortunately, though, at $100 per week UFCW’s strike pay is less than other unions like the Teamsters, UAW or UNITE-HERE pays members who are on strike.
Paul Batista, a butcher at the Stop & Shop on Everett Street in Allston, said the union won’t begin to make up for lost wages until the strike hits the two-week mark — and the checks won’t come close to regular pay: $100 per week for full-time workers and $50 per week for part timers.
“It’s really nothing,” Batista said.
A strike captain in Connecticut described some of the same conditions to the New Haven Independent.
At that rate, striking Stop & Shop workers would receive far less than Marriott hotel workers in Boston got from Unite Here Local 26 when they went on strike last year. The hotel workers initially received $300 per week; their union’s executive committee later raised payments to $400 per week.
To make matters worse for strikers, most may not be eligible for unemployment compensation either.
All but a handful of states bar strikers from collecting unemployment compensation during a strike.
Although Massachusetts is the most generous of the states affected by the UFCW’s strike, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, “employees participating in a labor dispute (i.e., strike) that results in a substantial curtailment of the employer’s business do not qualify for benefits,” reports WBUR.org.
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