Picket Line Blues5:50

It’s been one month since 900 workers walked off the job at Bombardier's Thunder Bay plant, and many say they are feeling the financial crunch.

The striking workers are given $250 dollars a week in strike pay from Unifor while they're on the picket line.

Becky MacKenzie

Bombardier striking worker Becky MacKenzie is a single mom. She says making $250 per week in strike pay means making some lifestyle changes. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Single parent Becky MacKenzie said she is finding the situation "very stressful. You know it's starting to really hit home now that it's not coming in."

Digging into savings

Money is also getting tight for Bombardier welders Sarah Buchan and David Sutton. The two live together and are now struggling to pay for the house they bought two years ago.

"[We’re] starting to dig into our savings, that's for sure,” Buchan said.

Emile Deroy, a finisher/charge hand at Bombardier, said he's starting to send out resumes and, if the strike continues, may consider a career change.

Emile Deroy

Emile Deroy, a finisher/charge hand at Bombardier, says he's starting to send out resumes, and thinking about a career change if this strike continues. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

"The bills are coming in but ... there's nothing left for anything else. So ya, you gotta cut back here, cut back there and make sure the bills are paid,” Deroy said.

He said his wife works, so that helps a lot.

"Some people are struggling more than others” he added. “I notice a lot of the young guys, they just bought trucks and houses and stuff and those guys are really getting impacted."

Dwindling options

Sutton said he is looking for another job, but isn't having much luck in Thunder Bay.

Sarah Buchan and David Sutton

Sarah Buchan and David Sutton live and work together. They're both welders at Bombardier, and now they're on the picket line together. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

“It's definitely going to have to be out of town somewhere — possibly out west,” he said.

That leaves the couple little choice but to live apart.

"It's not going to be easy, but to keep the house and the dogs and the cars, we have to do that."

Mackenzie said she doesn't have that option. Living on strike pay means some lifestyle changes,” she said.

"You cut back ... you put things back in the store cause ... okay, I want it, I don't need it."

Mackenzie's 14-year-old son is starting high school this year and she knows he'll want new clothes and supplies.

She said she hopes the strike will end soon. But making that happen requires a return to the bargaining table, she said, and no talks have been scheduled.