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Chicago Mechanic Strike Continues

Technicians at over 50 dealerships in and around Chicago are now in their second week on strike.

They’re fighting with the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, which represents the 56 dealers involved, as they negotiate their next four-year contract.

The mechanics/technicians are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and are members of Local 701. Meanwhile, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is not part of the negotiations but says it supports its members who are part of the New Car Dealer Committee (NCDC).

(Full disclosure: I’ve done paid and unpaid work for CATA in the past, before TTAC, and have guested on their car-talk radio show during my time here).

Local 701 claims the NCDC is keeping the strike going by not responding to the union’s rejection of its most recent proposal.

The union wants the NCDC to pay for some contributions set up by the union’s Health and Welfare Fund and to not offer any contracts that include “most favored nation” language. It also wants the NCDC to not make it easier to reduce a skilled worker’s guaranteed weekly pay if the worker isn’t meeting expectations due to extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances such as a COVID-related shut down, for example.

From Automotive News: “We’ve told the NCDC we are happy to return to the table when it can realign its positions with [union members’] demands.”

Dave Sloan, the president of CATA, said dealers asked for a counterproposal during the strike’s first week and that the NCDC was prepared to meet but the union didn’t show up.

“As we wait, there are about 800 of our dealers’ technicians out on strike, walking the picket line, sitting in the driving rain and wilting in the hot sun, not getting a paycheck, wondering when their union will get back to the negotiating table,” Sloan said in a statement.

The strike began on August 2nd. Ninety-seven percent of the union’s members voted to reject the NCDC’s proposal and go on strike. The two sides had been bargaining for months, and the NCDC offered its contract proposal on July 31.

This follows a seven-and-half-week strike in 2017 by the same union after similar contract disagreements.

[Image: John Kershner/Shutterstock.com]
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