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Detroit — The United Auto Workers is increasing strike pay to $250 per week from $200 ahead of the union's collective-bargaining effort with the Detroit Three later this year.

The $50 increase, announced by UAW President Gary Jones Monday at the union’s bargaining convention at Cobo Center, is effective this month. Starting in January, strike pay will increase again to $275 per week.

Strike pay comes out of the UAW’s Strike and Defense Fund. The fund held more than $721 million in 2018, according to the UAW. Delegates earlier this year voted to keep a 2011 dues-increase intact until the fund reaches $850 million.

“No one goes to the bargaining table expecting to strike. But the UAW goes to the bargaining table prepared to strike if our members need to strike. We don’t fear it,” Jones said. “We are solid heading into the next four years of bargaining, and this extra security for UAW families carries us to the bargaining table united in our goals.”

Hanging over this year’s talks between the UAW and Detroit's automakers are four General Motors Co. plant idlings in the U.S., stretching from Detroit to Maryland. GM will indefinitely idle Warren Transmission and Baltimore Operations this summer. Lordstown Assembly in Ohio stopped production earlier this month and Detroit-Hamtramck is slated to stop all production in January.

An increase in the strike fund provides more incentive for workers to send a message to the automakers by striking or walking off the job.

UAW international leaders and local delegates are meeting in Detroit this week to set the agenda for bargaining this summer with GM, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

nnaughton@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @NoraNaughton

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