Chicago sheet metal workers go on strike

sheet metal workers

Chicago area’s unionized sheet metal workers have gone on strike.

The collective agreement between Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 73 with SMACNA (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association) Greater Chicago expired on May 31 and members voted 544 to 321 to reject the proposed final offer contact from the employers.

Members working on Project Labor Agreement sites are exempted from the strike action.

The Fox Valley Associated General Contractors has reported on its website:

Most of you have heard by now that Sheet Metal Local 73 is on strike.  The union didn’t ratify the tentative agreement last night with 544 voting against and 321 voting for.  At this point that is all we know and SMACNA is working on the next step.  We will keep you informed as we get additional information.

Iron Workers Local 1 is still negotiating and we have heard nothing solid at this point on where the contract stands.  We have not heard of a strike by Iron Workers Local 1 and will keep you posted on any developments as we learn them.

The Sheet Metals Workers Union says on its website it was chartered in 1892 and is one of the largest locals in the International with over 4,400 members. Local 73 covers all of Cook and Lake Counties.

SMACNA Greater Chicago says on its website:

As you all know by now Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 has decided to take it members out on strike. We are deeply disappointed that union leadership has chosen this path.

In our opinion and in the opinion of many people we have heard from (including union members) there is no proposal or principle at issue which merits a strike. However, the association has prepared for the possibility of a strike. The negotiating team will be meeting this morning to discuss next steps and we will provide further information once it becomes available. Also know that we have individuals at the Association’s offices standing by to help with any questions you may have. They can be reached at (708) 544-7007.

In the meantime there a few basic things you should know:

  • You have the right to continue operating and your employees have the right to come to work.
  • There are no “me too” agreements being offered by the Union.
  • To the extent that your company is performing work under a project labor agreement (PLA), it would be a violation of the no-strike clause for the union to encourage, or its members to strike, honor picket lines or otherwise withhold services. This would include both site work and off-site work such as fabrication work done at your shop that is to be installed on the PLA site.
  • Union members have the right to strike and to peacefully picket non-PLA work. They do not have a right to be on your property, do not have the right to impede ingress and egress to your business, nor engage in any threats or violence.

The contractors have offered a fair package that includes a three year contract with 3 percent increases in each of the three years. It will bring the journeyman package from $74.81 to $81.78 per hour over the course of the three years.

We will provide updates as they become available. Please check back periodically for additional details.


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