Local 710 AWC Members Secure Unprecedented New Contract

Teamsters Win Life-Changing Wage Increases, Improvements to Healthcare and Retirement

CHICAGO, IL | After a long battle for several months, Teamsters Local 710 members nearly unanimously ratified a new contract with Auto Warehousing Company (AWC) last Wednesday.

“This new contract is nothing short of amazing,” said 710 Secretary-Treasurer Mike Cales. “I want to recognize General President Sean O’Brien and General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman for their direction and unwavering support during this arduous process. I also want to thank IBT Carhaul Director Avral Thompson and his team, Assistant Carhaul Director Jeff Brylski and Legal Counsel Dave Suetholz from Herzfeld, Suetholz, Gastel, Leniski and Wall, for holding firm with us against the company’s attempts to diminish standards not only here in Chicago, but also in Detroit at Local 299 and in Baltimore at Local 355.”

The Local 710 Bargaining Committee has been in negotiations since last September. When the company wanted to further extend the contract but wouldn’t move much on many of the core issues of their own employees, the members stood together and authorized a strike. With a strike looming, Local 710 prepared a final package proposal loaded with robust improvements across the board, and the company finally caved.

“The complete package that the Local 710 bargaining committee secured will go down as one of the greatest contracts ever for 710,” said Cales. “Our committee was patient and smart throughout these entire negotiations – It was an absolute privilege for me to work alongside Stewards Don Walker, Barry Seals, and Fredd Richardson, as well as Business Agents Tony Lamy and Craig Friedrich, to reach this agreement. Special recognition goes out to our Legal Counsel Joe Richardson from Willig, Williams, and Davidson, who was instrumental in this process. He did an outstanding job navigating this difficult negotiation with us.”

The newly ratified contract includes the following provisions:

  • Elimination of second tier and supplemental classifications: Upon ratification, all employees will be considered regular employees under one pay scale.
  • Unprecedented wage increases that bring all members to $27 per hour upon ratification and $31 per hour by the end of the contract: Employees currently at top rate will see year-one hourly increases of $3 to $4, with employees who were at the lowest wage scales seeing up to an 80% increase.
  • Improved health insurance through joining the Local 710 Health & Welfare Fund: Employees will move from an employee-sponsored plan to the Union plan with enhanced healthcare benefits.
  • Local 710 Pension for all regular employees: Previously, only certain members were in the 710 Pension based on classification – now all members will become participants in the Fund (combined with the Union healthcare, it equates to an additional $23 per hour worth of benefits paid on the members’ behalf).
  • Three additional holidays and two additional vacation tiers for more vacation earned.
  • Benefits that mirror the IBT National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA): Including a reduced probationary period upon hire, strike protections, overtime after eight hours, no forced overtime after ten hours, daily guarantees, and COLA.

“This new contract is absolutely life-changing and will provide us and our families with opportunities we haven’t seen before,” said Steward Don Walker. “We appreciate AWC for finally recognizing the hard work we as Teamsters do day in and day out. I’m so proud of all my brothers and sisters for standing together to make this happen for all of us.”

Local 710 represents approximately 130 members at two AWC facilities in Chicago that move new vehicles from the Ford Motor plant to be loaded on trains and carhauler trucks.

Teamsters Local 710 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing more than 13,500 members across the Midwest.

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