"What do we want? Contract!"
Members of UAW Local 1268 are picketting outside Johnson Controls in Sycamore fighting for what they call a fair contract.
Because they haven’t reached an agreement, production there for Chrysler vehicle seats at JCI could pause, and that pause could carry over to Chrysler Monday and pause vehicle production.
"Nobody wants to be out here on strike. This is a last ditch effort to make the company understand that we are very serious about this," UAW Local President John Gedney said.
The strike began today since both parties couldn’t reach a contract agreement by ten last night. Negotiations started in mid January and they’ve been working without a contract for two weeks. The majority of the workers at JCI are union and if they aren’t working, no seats are made.
"Once there’s no employees in there building seats, Chrysler can no longer run," Member Robert Frye said.
The union wants to make sure their jobs are protected and not outsourced overseas.
"The guy down the street wouldn’t be at the gas station if it wasn’t for jobs like this. And we want to make sure that these well paying jobs are secured here," Gedney said.
Chant…"We are union the mighty might union."
"It’s very frsutrating. We got a lot of individuals out here that have families to feed," Frye said.
Union leaders say they will continue talks until an agreement can be reached.
Johnson Controls is the company that is negotiating a contract with the UAW. There are 200 members that are part of that specific bargaining unit. Union members said they make up the majority of workers there at JCI, excluding management.
The bargaining unit is on strike. Those members of Local 1268 were out today picketing in front of JCI in Sycamore. The plant there only makes seats for Chrysler cars.
Union leaders said they have been negotiating with JCI since mid-January. Their contract expired February 5th. The deadline to settle it was last night at 10 p.m. Union leaders said if JCI and UAW don’t reach an agreement by Monday, seats won’t be produced at JCI and cars can’t be made at Chrysler. Union leaders said strikes are not ideal, but they have to stand up for their jobs if they want to keep them.
"It’s about securing a future for our families and our communities in which we live in – a living wage. These jobs are not only important to our membership but our community also," Local 1268 President John Gedney said.
Gedney said they want to make sure these jobs are kept local. If the strike continues past Monday, union leaders said 4,000 members of UAW will be affected throughout Belvidere and Sycamore.
Union leaders said execs with Chrysler are working with JCI to try and reach an agreement since they are affected by the strike.