Chicago, IL – As cars get more sophisticated, pay and advancement for mechanics haven’t kept pace, say Chicago’s striking auto mechanics. It can take up to eight years for an apprentice to become a journeyman—after first working as a lube technician—and they generally make less than $20 an hour and have to buy their own tools. Auto Mechanics Union Local 701, whose nearly 2,000 members have been on strike against about 140 Chicagoland car dealers since Aug. 1, wants to limit the apprenticeship period to five years, as well as better pay and a guaranteed 40-hour workweek. “We’re sick and tired of their bullshit and we deserve what we’re owed,” International Association of Machinists President Bob Martinez told strikers outside a Cadillac dealership in the suburb of Naperville Aug. 23. The New Car Dealers Committee’s lead negotiator, Dave Radelet, said that even though dealers charge customers $100 an hour, they can’t afford to pay mechanics more than $30—and that apprentices who feel they deserve a promotion should go to a dealership willing to give them a better job. Local 701 sent the committee a new contract proposal Aug. 22. Read more


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