Striking Chicago Area Auto Mechanics Expected To Reject Latest Offer From Dealers

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mechanics for 30 percent of new car dealers in the Chicago area entered 11th day of their labor strike on Friday with no sign of an agreement in sight.

Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701 negotiator Sam Cicinelli said the Chicago Automobile Trade Association’s New Car Dealers’ Committee modified its final offer to the union yesterday, and now union leaders will take that back to their 1,700 members for a vote.

Cicinelli said the leaders are recommending a “no” vote, claiming the offer does not guarantee the 40-hour work week mechanics have sought.

“It’s still not addressing the 800-pound gorilla, which is increasing the hours, or coming closer to a 40-hour guarantee,” he said. “They’re at the point now where they’re so enraged that, they’re going to, my guess is, continue to stand out on the street until our issues are addressed in some capacity.”

The dealers contend they already provide a 40-hour work week for mechanics through a minimum weekly salary.

Dave Radelet, negotiator for the New Car Dealers Committee, called the latest offer “very generous,” and said the dealers have to remain competitive to stay in business.

“We have put our very, very best offer on the table; and the dealers are very, very committed to this. It’s extremely generous,” he said. “The dealers are very committed to doing what’s possible to improve the job security and quality of life for the technicians, but the dealers firmly believe that the path to do that is by improving our competitive position.”

The strike involves mechanics at 130 of the 420 new car dealers in the Chicago area.

Radelet said the strike is impacting the dealers and their customers. He also said some dealers have been forced to lay off some service people until the strike is over.

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