The 24 mechanics at Valley Ford Truck, on strike since Dec.18, were joined on the picket line by a large group of supporters Jan. 8 in Valley View, Ohio. They came from multiple unions, including United Steelworkers, Teamsters, United Electrical Workers (UE), American Federation of Government Employees, Service Employees Union (SEIU) and United Auto Workers.
The strikers, members of International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 1363, had been negotiating with the dealership for six months before the strike began.
The primary issue is retirement security. In 2019, Valley Ford Truck demanded and won the elimination of the traditional pension plan in favor of a 401(k) retirement savings plan. Retirement income is more secure with a pension benefit defined in the contract. With a savings account that goes up and down with Wall Street booms and crashes, there’s no way to predict how much money will be in it when a worker decides to retire.
Now, however, the company wants to terminate the 401(k) and use the money it saves to cover demands for wage increases — leaving workers with neither a pension nor savings when they retire. Cleveland area unions have made it clear that attacks on pensions are unacceptable.
– Report and photo by Martha Grevatt