Chicago Mechanic Strike Continues

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Technicians at over 50 dealerships in and around Chicago are now in their second week on strike.

They’re fighting with the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, which represents the 56 dealers involved, as they negotiate their next four-year contract.

The mechanics/technicians are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and are members of Local 701. Meanwhile, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is not part of the negotiations but says it supports its members who are part of the New Car Dealer Committee (NCDC).

(Full disclosure: I’ve done paid and unpaid work for CATA in the past, before TTAC, and have guested on their car-talk radio show during my time here).

Local 701 claims the NCDC is keeping the strike going by not responding to the union’s rejection of its most recent proposal.

The union wants the NCDC to pay for some contributions set up by the union’s Health and Welfare Fund and to not offer any contracts that include “most favored nation” language. It also wants the NCDC to not make it easier to reduce a skilled worker’s guaranteed weekly pay if the worker isn’t meeting expectations due to extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances such as a COVID-related shut down, for example.

From Automotive News: “We’ve told the NCDC we are happy to return to the table when it can realign its positions with [union members’] demands.”

Dave Sloan, the president of CATA, said dealers asked for a counterproposal during the strike’s first week and that the NCDC was prepared to meet but the union didn’t show up.

“As we wait, there are about 800 of our dealers’ technicians out on strike, walking the picket line, sitting in the driving rain and wilting in the hot sun, not getting a paycheck, wondering when their union will get back to the negotiating table,” Sloan said in a statement.

The strike began on August 2nd. Ninety-seven percent of the union’s members voted to reject the NCDC’s proposal and go on strike. The two sides had been bargaining for months, and the NCDC offered its contract proposal on July 31.

This follows a seven-and-half-week strike in 2017 by the same union after similar contract disagreements.

[Image: John Kershner/]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 34 comments
  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Aug 13, 2021

    an uncle of mine died in florida yesterday. from covid. if anyone deserved it, that POS did. immunosuppressed and 80 years old. from what i understand, he posted a lot of racist stuff on facebook, as well as squatting in my grandparents house when they passed. nothing of value was lost

  • Socrates77 Socrates77 on Aug 13, 2021

    There was a time when we needed unions, when companies like the coal industry would endangered and overworked the poor rural employees. A lot of them died of cancer. Now we don't need them we have laws that protect workers, unions are now greedy and corrupt. And has made employees lazy and overpaid.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kris86 Kris86 on Aug 16, 2021

      What laws are your referring to that protect a tech? They often work 40+ hours and aren’t paid for the time. Their pay is not always based on their skills. It’s based on the ability of someone else to sell the needed work to a customer, the dispatcher handing out work fairly, the warranty clerk getting the claim filed correctly, parts dept having parts in stock or the ability to get them quickly… The NCDC wants to include a MFN clause that basically says that they can promise anything that they want to get the techs to sign the contract and then cherry pick and change any part of the contract at any time during the next 4 years if the union has any other contract with any other dealer or dealer group if the clause is more favorable to the dealer. However, the NCDC will not allow a similar clause that would allow the Union to change any clause that might be more favorable to the techs

  • Funky D A few from my road trip playlist: Eddie Rabbitt - Drivin' My Life AwayAmerica - Ventura Highway---Herb Alpert - Route 101Jerry Reed - East Bown and DownEddie Money - Shakin'Lindey Buckingham - Holiday RoadWar - Low RiderTears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Not a driving song per se, but if you've seen the video, you'll get it)Wang Chung - Wait (Gotta see the end credits of "To Live and Die in LA", for this one)
  • Ronin Or can sedans be saved from themselves? Modern sedans have very low entry and seating, and unnecessarily downward sloping rear roofs. This may have been a sleek design center 25 years ago, but it's nice to have an alternative to SUVs for the olds (ie, anyone over 30).
  • Bd2 The Hyundai Sonota is the best sedan on the market right now.
  • Kcflyer hang in there Lexus. Keep making the IS with the V8 and sooner or later I will buy a new one :)
  • 1995 SC I'll take Mystichrome. And a different car