54 members went on strike Nov. 1, backed by 30 members of Teamsters 618 who honored the picket without pay
By TIM ROWDEN
South St. Louis County – Two weeks after going on strike over stalled contract talks, Machinists District 9 reached a three-year contract agreement with Dave Sinclair Ford that includes fair wages and incentives across classifications for the 54 Machinists union members employed at the dealership, including service advisors and service and body shop technicians.
“I’m happy to say the strike has been settled,” District 9 Directing Business Representative Mark Conner said.
“I’m proud of our guys for standing together to back each other and thank all the Labor community for all their support,” Conner said, noting that 30 members of Teamsters Local 618 also employed at the dealership had honored the picket without pay, refusing to cross the picket line in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters from District 9. “I ask now that everybody come back and patronize Sinclair Ford.”
Marvin Kropp, secretary treasurer/principal officer of Teamsters Local 618 and president of Teamsters Joint Council 13, said his members honored the walkout without pay because of their commitment to their fellow union members.
“We’ve always had a good, close relationships with Locals 777 and 313 because of the auto dealerships,” he said, noting that their solidarity sends a strong message to employers.
“When you have 30 guys that honor a picket and go without a paycheck, that gets their attention,” Kropp said. “It’s huge.”
Conner said the final contract, which included incentive bonuses for service advisors and additional bonuses and a 40-hour guarantee for service techs, was fair and consistent across classifications – something that had been a sticking point in earlier negotiations.
“Although their offer at the beginning was generally fair and consistent with other dealerships, there were areas that weren’t,” Conner said. “The guys stood together with their brothers and sisters and other departments and that’s what led to the strike.
“I’m happy James Sinclair was able to come back to the table to take care of the classifications and get it worked out,” Conner said. “At the end, we reached an agreement that was good for everyone.”
Conner said one unique aspect of Sinclair Ford is that it has a union body shop that works on all makes
and models of cars.
That’s something that’s increasingly rare, he said, and another reason to patronize the dealership.
“Please patronize your union body shop,” he said.