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updated: 8/7/2017 10:13 PM

No deal between striking mechanics, auto dealers after talks Monday

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  • Union 701 auto mechanics continue picketing at new car dealerships across the suburbs, including at Castle Chevrolet in Elk Grove Village. Negotiations are expected to continue Thursday.

      Union 701 auto mechanics continue picketing at new car dealerships across the suburbs, including at Castle Chevrolet in Elk Grove Village. Negotiations are expected to continue Thursday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

As the auto mechanics strike reaches its one-week mark, both sides had "lengthy discussions" Monday before adjourning without an agreement.

Representatives for Automobile Mechanics Local 701 and the Chicago Automobile Trade Association said the sides will return to the bargaining table Thursday.

In the meantime, about 1,700 mechanics remain on the picket lines at new car dealerships throughout Chicago and the suburbs.

The loss of service work income and lost customers are unknown while mechanics seek fair pay, pension benefits, flex time and other issues that remain in dispute.

"Both sides are getting back to negotiations today and no one on either side wants to do or say anything that might jeopardize a quick and equitable resolution of the strike," Mark Bilek, spokesman for the New Car Dealers Committee representing 130 Chicago and suburban dealerships, said earlier Monday.

The mechanics, members of the Automobile Mechanics Local 701, have been on strike since Aug. 1 after rejecting a 3-year contract that offered a 5 percent raise each year and other benefits.

The mechanics argue they are not getting paid for the proper amount of time it takes to perform repairs safely. The trade association disputes the mechanics' view. Fair pay, pension benefits, flex time, better health care and other issues also were in dispute.

There are 420 new auto dealerships in the region, including the 130 affected by the current strike. The affected dealerships are in Barrington, Schaumburg, Elmhurst, Libertyville, Bensenville, Arlington Heights, Naperville, St. Charles and elsewhere.

Another 30 dealerships also have union mechanics, but those contracts are on a different renewal cycle. The remaining 260 area dealerships are nonunion.

Sam Cicinelli, directing business representative for the union, was not immediately available for comment. But a tweet Aug. 3 from the union said they are willing to negotiate.

"There continues to be a lot of support from every community, the media has provided good coverage of our issues. We are beating them on the street, in each community as well as with Social Media," Cicinelli said in the tweet. "I'm extremely proud of our membership for standing up for a contract they truly deserve."

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