Chicago-area mechanics go on strike Monday, affecting 50+ dealerships

Getting your car serviced at dozens of Chicagoland dealerships is a lot more difficult now that more than 800 service technicians are on strike.

"There’s stipulations in the contract we’re not happy with as a whole, as a union, that’s why we’re out here, just looking to get things right," said one striking worker outside of a Forest Park dealership, who did not want to give his name.

It’s the same scene at Cadillac Heritage in Lombard and a total of 56 dealerships in the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, or NCDC. 

Its contract with Mechanics' Local 701 expired at midnight Saturday, during a busy time for service departments.


"Any of these dealerships that have these men out front, there is no service happening inside," said Ronnie Gonzalez, the Business Representative for IAM Mechanics' Local 701.

Gonzalez say 97-percent of the union voted to reject the latest offer and 99-percent of the union members then voted to hit the picket line.

The NCDC says their latest proposal included significant wage and benefit increases and many other improvements, while still keeping the dealers competitive.

But for the union, contract language is a roadblock.

"It's called ‘The Most Favored Nations’ article, and basically it gives the ability of the association to cherry pick from other contracts and take whatever language is beneficial to them and make it effective immediately, instead of bargaining those terms into the contract," said Gonzalez.

In a statement, NCDC said in part:

"Instead of working on those issues as promised, the union’s leadership put their own internal political interests ahead of the membership and simply decided they were going try and make the NCDC swallow a one-sided contract without any real compromise. "

The last strike like this was in 2017 and lasted almost two months. The striking workers say they are ready to picket as long as it takes to drive their message home.

You can see a full list of the affected dealerships here.