Auto mechanic working at 56 Chicago area car dealers went on strike on Monday after voting to reject a proposed new contract.
The employees in question work in stores that are part of Chicago’s New Car Dealer Committee for 2021, also known as NCDC. They also belong to Local 701, which is part of the union of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
After months of negotiations between the two organizations, the NCDC offered a counter-proposal for a contract on Saturday, according to Local 701. The union rejected NCDC’s offer at a meeting on Sunday. About 97 percent of union members voted to reject it and 99 percent voted to call a strike.
“Withholding work until fair working conditions are agreed upon is a union member’s last resort and the decision was not taken lightly,” Local 701 said in a press release.
In 2017, a seven-and-a-half-week strike ensued after similar friction in contract negotiations between the union and the NCDC.
In its press release, the union said it wanted to resolve three main issues. First, the union wants the NCDC not to facilitate the reduction in the guaranteed weekly wage if a skilled worker fails to meet job expectations due to circumstances beyond their control, such as COVID-19 closures.
Second, union members want the NCDC to pay the agreed health insurance rates. Third, the union wants the NCDC to stop using language that “undermines the negotiation process by allowing it to select what provisions it considers favorable in other agreements.”
Local 701 also reports that the NCDC has shown reluctance to support technician training and reluctance to improve pension benefits.
The NCDC rejected the union’s description of the situation, saying its counter-proposal called for “significant increases in wages and benefits” for maintenance technicians and included changes for “the few remaining areas of disagreement.” .
“Instead of working on these issues as promised, union leaders put their own internal political interests ahead of members and simply decided that they were going to try to get the NCDC to accept a unilateral contract without any real compromise,” he said. the NCDC said in a statement. “Failure to recommend this contract to its members is a failure of the union leadership and will again cost dealers and their service technicians dearly.”