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Auto mechanics, car dealers reach tentative agreement on new contract

Updated: July 31, 2013 9:54PM

Negotiators for Chicago area car dealers and unionized auto mechanics reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Wednesday evening.

Members of Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701 will vote on the offer Sunday, both sides said in a joint statement. The union said on its website that if the offer is voted down, a strike will begin Monday.

David Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, said the negotiations involve about 120 dealers, 30 percent of the franchised operations in the area. Sloan said the affected dealers employ about 2,000 mechanics.

He declined to discuss terms of the agreement. A spokesman for the union could not be reached.

Local 701 said in an online posting that the dealers revised an offer that union members had rejected last Sunday. “The changes made were sufficient enough to get the union’s bargaining committee’s recommendation,” the statement said. “Now it’s up to the members to decide for themselves and their families.”

The union said in earlier postings that its demands include increased contributions to an underfunded pension plan, a wage increase and a guarantee of 40 hours of work per week.

Sloan, whose trade group assists the auto dealers in the talks, said the agreement is complicated and that he hopes extra time to analyze it will yield more support from the mechanics.

Negotiators were aiming for a four-year contract, Sloan said. The current four-year deal was to expire Wednesday night, but both sides agreed to extend it through Sunday.

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