CHICAGO — Dealers across the Chicago area last week were coping the best they could as more than 1,700 mechanics continued a labor strike into the second week.
While some dealers were overwhelmed with incomplete orders and were closing service departments, others were taking the walkout in stride.
Their woes were unlikely to end soon. Even if bargainers reached an agreement by this past weekend, the need for a ratification vote by the mechanics' union means that the workers likely wouldn't be back on the job today, Aug. 14. The strike affects 130 unionized dealerships of about 420 new-vehicle dealerships in the Chicago area.
The striking mechanics want a guaranteed 40-hour workweek and higher wages, among other demands. They say they have absorbed contract setbacks over the years, including wage cuts and an apprenticeship track that has grown to eight years from four under the previous contract.
Management representatives say a guaranteed 40-hour workweek would eliminate the system of rewarding the most productive technicians with more hours. The previous contract guaranteed a minimum 34 hours a week.
The strike, which began Aug. 1, immediately halted services at Bill Kay Ford in Midlothian, Ill., and Bredemann Ford in Glenview, Ill. Each postponed or canceled dozens of repairs. Service managers at the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Mazda stores of the Autobarn group in Evanston, Ill., are doing most of the work themselves.