April 18, 2023
Preparing For National Bargaining

By John Davis with Debi Kirchner

This fall, several contracts expire, and new contracts must be negotiated. While we always hope for the best, it is advisable to prepare for the worst. Four years ago, there was a 40-day strike at General Motors, taxing the preparedness of our members. Looking at your long-term needs now, could go a long way toward being prepared should the need to strike arise.

Everyone should look at their monthly budget and at ways to build ahead, in the event of a strike. We are five months ahead of contracts expiring, leaving plenty of time to build a cushion. Here are a few helpful tips to be financially aware.

Build A Rainy-Day Fund

If you have an opportunity for overtime, now would be the time to take advantage of it. The additional money will come in handy. The time to prepare is now, not in September.

Housing Expense

Historically, housing is our greatest expense. Making an extra 50% payment over the next four months gives you two months paid on your mortgage. If you rent, put 50% back over the next four months.

Vehicle Payments

The same principle applies to vehicle payments. If you can make a 50% extra payment over the next four months, then you could be two months ahead by the contract deadlines. Also, check your car insurance due date, and pay early, if it falls near the contract deadline.

Living Expense

Beginning the month before the contract deadline, consider buying extra canned goods in case you need to lower your food costs later. Canned soups and vegetables can often be found on special if you can, buy several. Frozen items have a longer shelf life for example, chicken tenders, french fries, and mixed vegetables are good options to bank up.


Many have pets that require special food. Dog and cat food often has an extended expiration date, so stocking up on food for our four-legged friends helps.

Baby Items

Diapers, baby food, and formula are other items that make sense to stock up on. Keep in mind that diaper sizes could change over a couple of months.


Medical Items

Although we might have basic health insurance, at least at the beginning of a strike, it may not last in a long strike. Schedule as many of your maintenance doctor's visits before the deadline as possible. Confirm all maintenance drugs are filled as far in advance as possible beforehand. Ensure all dental and vision needs are fulfilled beforehand, they will likely not be covered in the basic coverage provided.

Avoid Large Expense

Postpone unnecessary large purchases. Evaluate large purchases for the time being. That new 75-inch TV could cover a partial mortgage payment. Maybe postpone that summer vacation until later in the fall. Pay off credit cards as low as you can before contract negotiations.

Hopefully, contract negotiations will go smoothly, eliminating the need for a strike. But being prepared can reduce some of the stress in the occurrence we are forced to walk out.






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