Mechanics on strike at 9 Naperville car dealerships

Mechanics for several Naperville new car dealerships are walking the picket line as part of the Automobile Mechanics Local 701 strike that began Tuesday morning.

The striking workers were posted on the sidewalks in front of dealerships along Ogden Avenue and Aurora Avenue. Stalled contract talks with the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee, which represents the dealership owners, started in June, according to the union’s website.

Among the unresolved issues are pay for uncompensated time, work rules that interfere with the mechanics’ family time and lack of an industry career path, according to a union statement. The union also wants a guaranteed 40-hour work week, according to Sam Cicinelli, directing business representative for Local 701.

Motorists honked in support Wednesday as they drove through the Aurora Avenue/Fort Hill Drive intersection, where workers set up tents and were picketing in front of the Bill Jacobs BMW and Lexus of Naperville. A large inflated balloon of a Chicago Bears player held a picket sign.

The strike affects 130 of the metropolitan area’s 420 new car dealerships, said Mark Bilek, senior director of communications for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, speaking on behalf of the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee.

“So for many people, they won’t experience any change in dealership operations,” Bilek said. “For dealerships that are affected, they’re keeping a skeleton crew doing services, including oil changes.”

For the past couple weeks, many dealerships were letting customers know a strike was possible and rescheduling appointments, Bilek said.

The nine new car dealerships with mechanics in Local 701 are Bill Jacobs BMW MINI, Cadillac of Naperville, Lexus of Naperville, Fair Oaks Ford Lincoln, Gerald Kia of Naperville, Gerald Nissan, Gerald Subaru, Toyota of Naperville and Woody PBG, according to a list on the union’s website.

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story.


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