Affiliate News
September 23, 2017

Auto Mechanics Win Four-Year Deal, Ending Seven-Week Strike

Auto Mechanics Win Four-Year Deal, Ending Seven-Week Strike

Approximately 2,000 Chicago-area auto mechanics, represented by IAM Automobile Mechanics Local 701, went back to work on Sept. 18, after they ratified a new four-year deal with the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee.

“We did it! You did it!” said Local 701 Directing Business Representative Sam Cicinelli to the members. “We wrestled them down, defending each of their moves to where they finally tapped out. They waved the white flag and capitulated to our demands.”

The offer was the fourth since the mechanics traded in their tools for strike signs in early August. The group overwhelmingly rejected three previous proposals presented by the NCDC because of the association’s consistent failure to address several key issues brought forth by the IAM.

The terms of the final agreement mirror the same offer agreed upon by more than 70 individual dealerships who, throughout the strike, broke ranks with the dealer association and, instead, settled interim agreements with the union directly. It addresses several of the union’s key issues, including the mechanics’ number one issue of increasing their base pay two additional hours over the term of the agreement. In addition, the contract addresses the advancement of semi-skilled workers towards a career path, shortens the apprenticeship scale from 10 to 5 years, and provides a more family-friendly work schedule for senior-level Journeymen technicians, among other points.

“The NCDC denied our proposals from day one,” said Cicinelli. “They tried to break this union. They attempted every dirty trick in the book by trying to demoralize you on the line. They tried to fill you with uncertainty while blaming the union for what’s going on. They tried to divide you. But we divided them.”

Cicinelli and the members of Local 701 thank everyone for the support they received from area residents and other union members from Chicago and across the country, including monetary donations to the health care fund, food and water donations, and words of encouragement on the strike lines.