Michigan Credit Unions Offer Assistance to Workers Impacted by UAW Strike
The UAW Strike, which started on Sept. 15, continues to expand, leaving many Michigan residents in uncertain financial situations.
To assist these workers, who will be without their usual wage for an undetermined amount of time, credit unions around the state have reached out to their members to offer a wide array of relief options. Most common among options are skip-a-pay waivers, modifications to existing loans and new loan products with one-to-three month payment extensions.
“When our members struggle financially, credit unions consistently step up with solutions,” said Terry Katzur, CEO of ELGA Credit Union in Grand Blanc. “We did it during the COVID pandemic when our members were without jobs and we are showing the credit union difference again as a response to the UAW Strike.”
ELGA Credit Union is providing fee-free loan payment deferment for any worker impacted, whether they are a UAW worker on strike or laid off due to strikes, as are many non-union workers at auto parts suppliers. The credit union is also offering personal loans to UAW workers.
LAFCU, the Lansing-based credit union founded by Oldsmobile employees 87 years ago, is offering special strike loans (up to $4,000 for 36 months at 8.99% APR), as well as debt consolidation, refinancing options and free credit counseling.
“Our very foundation is forged from the autoworkers, and we will be there for our members through this difficult time,” said Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, the credit union’s chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer.
The Michigan credit union movement is no stranger to helping union workers on strike. As recent as the 2019 General Motors strike, we saw Michigan credit unions step up to assist impacted Michiganders through a similar variety of assistance options.
“Astera Credit Union highly values the relationships we have with our members who are also members of a union,” said CEO Martin Carter. “We recognize when contract negotiations break down, resulting in decreased earnings for striking members, extreme financial hardship can be one missed paycheck away. Providing consultative understanding and flexibility in assisting members experiencing financial hardship is a cornerstone of what Astera Credit Union does.”
Astera Credit Union, in Lansing, is offering impacted workers specialty "Lending a Hand Loans," payday alternative loans, skip-a-pay fee waivers and one-on-one financial counseling.
Many other Michigan credit unions, such as Zeal Credit Union, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union and Alliance Catholic Credit Union, are also working with members to find solutions that best fit them, whether that be free one-on-one counseling or loan products tailored to their needs.
Similarly, Diversified Members Credit Union (DMCU) in Detroit told MCUL the organization is closely monitoring how the strike progresses so it can best serve its membership.
“Helping our members through any difficult time is our priority. We stand with our members on strike and are prepared to help them especially if they are having a difficult time making their loan payments,” said DMCU Chief Marketing Officer Colleen Scott.
Jennifer Dickey, Chief Experience Officer for Cornerstone Community Financial, also expressed the importance of showing members that their credit union is there for them in difficult times. That’s why the Auburn Hills-based organization named their low-rate loan product “In Your Corner.”
“Understanding the potential impact that this could have on a large portion of our membership who are probably already trying to make ends meet in this economy, it was imperative for us to offer solutions that would support these members impacted by the strike,” said Dickey. “Now more than ever, they need to know that we're in their corner.”
“It’s heartening, but not surprising, to see Michigan credit unions step up to help workers during the UAW Strike,” said MCUL President/CEO Patty Corkery. “Our movement understands how hard it can be to navigate uncertainty and financial hardship, and the assistance they are offering members is indicative of true financial partnership.”
The following database is a more comprehensive list of assistance Michigan credit unions are currently offering those impacted by the UAW Strike: Michigan Credit Union Strike Resources.