By SHERI GASSAWAY
Sunset Hills, MO – Machinists Lodge 777 members at Sunset Ford have rejected a second contract proposal, forcing them into their third week on strike against the 100-year-old dealership at the corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Gravois Road.
Dave Weaver, directing business manager of Machinists District 9, said mechanics and service advisors at the dealership voted down the company’s second proposal on Monday morning, Nov. 15.
“We’ve given them ample time to come up with a good offer and they haven’t,” Weaver said. “Please do not patronize them. Service is their big money maker there, and right now we have them shut down 100 percent. If you have bought cars there, call the salesmen and tell them ‘If you don’t solve this, I’m never coming back.’ That’s what people can do to help us.”
On Friday, Nov. 12, Missouri Jobs with Justice joined workers on the strike line, pledging to stand in solidarity with them and boycott the dealership until a contract is reached. The group was met with honks and waves of support from passing drivers.
‘WANT WHAT’S RIGHT’
“This a is 100-year-old business, and they didn’t get here without us,” said Lodge 777 President Scott Hargis. “We’re not looking to put them out of business – it’s the total opposite. We want them to prosper because when they prosper, so do we. We’re just here to level the playing field, and we want what’s right and deserved.”
Hargis said the company is proposing pension cuts and no wage increases for the 27 mechanics and service advisors – this while the country’s inflation rate surged to 6.2 percent last month, the highest rate in 30 years. He added that Sunset Ford is proposing an unrealistic incentive plan for the dealership’s service advisors.
“The definition of incentive is attainable and what they’re proposing is not,” Hargis said. “They are setting them up for failure and it’s not acceptable. Some of these workers have spent their entire careers here. Their main job is to sell service and bring in work, which leads to the mechanics in back getting their hours in and making money.”
About 50 people attended the Nov. 12 Jobs with Justice rally at the strike line, including Senator Doug Beck (D-Affton); Representative Trish Gunby (D-Ballwin), who’s running to unseat Rep. Ann Wagner in 2022; former Senator Scott Sifton, who’s running for the second congressional Senate seat; and two other Democrats running the Senate seat.
‘BEHIND YOU 100 PERCENT’
“I’m here to let everyone know I stand with you,” said Beck, a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. “These are good-paying jobs. I do believe in your fight here today, and I’m behind your 100 percent.”
Sifton said that the country is seeing more and more striking workers and it’s spreading among different sectors. He said he was pleased to see other U.S. Senate Democratic candidates supporting workers on the strike line.
‘WE HAVE YOUR BACK’
“I just want to let all the Machinists here today and all the working men and women in our state know that we have your back, we’re on your side and we’ll fight for you,” he said. “Now more than ever with what’s happening with the economy and the restart from the COVID pandemic, now is the time for employees to be standing up for what’s right.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Lodge 777 is welcoming assistance on the strike line at Sunset Ford at 11700 Gravois Road in Sunset Hills and urging union members and the general public to honor the strike line and send a message to Sunset Ford that they will not be doing business with the dealership until management agrees to a fair contract.