About 2,000 mechanics in the Chicago area went on strike Tuesday following a nearly unanimous vote against a proposed contract.
The work stoppage impacts about 130 of the 420 new-vehicle dealerships in the Chicago metropolitan region, according to David Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association.
Mechanics represented by IAMAW Automobile Mechanics Local 701 on Sunday "overwhelmingly rejected" a final offer from the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, which bargains on behalf of the dealerships.
The strike centers around a dispute over work schedules. The union has asked for a guaranteed 40-hour work week, a change Sloan said dealerships would find unacceptable.
"The dealers want to keep control of their service departments in terms of scheduling," Sloan said.
According to the dealer committee, the rejected contract included annual 5 percent wage increases over the course of the three-year contract, in addition to the continuation of a defined-benefit pension plan.
"NCDC regrets that agreement could not be reached, but NCDC dealers must balance the needs of our technicians with the needs of our customers and our other employees in an extremely competitive automobile service market," the committee said in a statement.
A voicemail left for Local 701 was not immediately returned.
Sloan said most affected dealerships would keep their service departments open despite the strike, though some larger repairs could be impacted. He said he is confident the union and the dealer committee would get back to the bargaining table soon to hammer out a new agreement.