Drivers paying the price as auto mechanics strike in Chicago area drags on

After 23 days, hundreds of car mechanics around the Chicago area are still on strike.

The negotiations have hit a wall and now some customers are paying for it.

"The engine light came on and it started shaking," said Zabrina Shelton, who owns a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Shelton’s SUV is covered under a service plan warranty. But just two days after she dropped it off, 800 service technicians went on strike.

Twenty-three days later, Shelton is still in limbo and out of a lot of cash. Her service warranty only covers a 7-day rental.

"So far I have paid $400 and some change and today I will need to pay $300. The part is there but they can’t put it in," she said.


Fifty-six dealerships are impacted by the strike, according to the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee.

"There are 400 new car dealers in the area. Customers who are unable to get service at those 56 dealerships can go to another dealership," said Jennifer Morand with the Chicago Automobile Association.

The union, Mechanics local 701, says talks are at a stalemate over key sticking points.

"Lack of funding to out the health insurance, those rates are set by our trustees and the base pay guaranteed for journeymen and apprentices when they work a 40 hour week," said Ronnie Gonzalez, Mechanics 701 Business Representative.

The New Car Dealer Committee says, "Dealers offered Local 701 a contract proposal that provides significant wage increases and other benefits for service techs, while addressing important improvements for the long-term success of dealers and techs alike."

In 2017. it took seven weeks for a final agreement to be reached.