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Dealership Displays 'Unnecessary Intimidation,' Say Striking Mechanics

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A dispute takes a mechanics strike to a whole new level at a car dealership in the Western suburbs.

CBS 2's Sandra Torres reports that 15 mechanics at the Cadillac of Naperville dealership retrieved their tool boxes Saturday. This is an action they were instructed to do, by management, who said they will no longer be responsible for the service technicians' belongings until the strike is over.

Many called it an unnecessary form on intimidation.

"We originally wanted to strike professionally -- not blocking the service entrance, not engaging with customers unless we were engaged first, only picketing the front of the store," said John Bisbikis, a service technician. "And that's how we started until provoked with letters and salesmen driving on the sidewalks at us."

That specific incident Bisbikis referred to was recorded by one of the mechanics on Friday.

"They [salesmen] were moving cars of the front pad, and instead of using the back-way, like they they normally do, they chose for some reason to come around the front where we were all standing," Bisbikis said.  He called the incident "very intimidating."

The group also received a letter from management, which says, in part: "We will no longer be paying for your health insurance. We have placed ads for replacement technicians. All tools, tool boxes and personal belongings must be removed by Saturday August 5th at 5:30 p.m."

"It's disturbing, it really is. Now it's putting things in my head, like, how much longer do I have here?" questioned Mike Ziocchi, another of the Cadillac dealership's service technicians.

CBS 2 attempted to contact the owner of Cadillac of Naperville, but were told he would not comment on the issue.

A representative from the Mechanics' Union Local 701 said the dealership can legally replace the workers, but only temporarily.

Negotiations between the dealerships and the union are ongoing.

The mechanics have been picketing for the past five days. On strike along with them are more than 130 other dealerships in the Chicago area.

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