Third week of Chicago auto mechanics strike: CATA Pres. David Sloan talks latest proposal

IAM Mechanics Local 701 union members from the Chicago area are now in their third week of a strike after rejecting a proposal for a new contract. Here to discuss the ongoing negotiations is the President of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, David Sloan. 

In terms of reaching a resolution, Sloan says not much has changed. The CATA’s New Car Dealer Committee (NCDC) has submitted another proposal and they are waiting for the union members to get back to them. There are a number of issues that need to be resolved. Sloans says it’s unfortunate because they had worked with the union for the last six months, to get a warranty reimbursement bill passed in the state of Illinois, which is favorable for the auto mechanics.

Four years ago, they had a seven-week strike and there were seven car dealers who went off and made a deal with the union, which was not legal. Because of that, the union left the majority of their auto mechanics on the street, holding picket signs, while other technicians went back to work. Sloan says this is very much the situation now.

Car dealers understand it’s not about short-term thinking but long-term says, Sloan. They want to make a deal that’s best for them and their auto mechanics. Issues include a most-favored-nations clause, as well as health and welfare fund. The union health and welfare fund has 32 months of reserve, which is more than the standard 16 months. Sloan adds, that the striking mechanics want increased contributions to the health and welfare fund, which Sloan says, doesn’t make any sense to him, since the proposal calls for increased wages.

Sloan wraps up the conversation by discussing where things stand. Sloan says, car dealers are willing to take the hit now, so they don’t have to pay for it again in four years by accepting a deal that someone else negotiated. The majority of car dealers in the Chicago area are non-union, and just over 100 are unionized.

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