April 17, 2024

Striking IAM Auto Tech Members Under Intense Persecution in Massachusetts

A new video produced by the Machinists News Network showcases Massachusetts car dealership Country Nissan’s all-out war on IAM-represented auto technician workers in Hadley.

Watch “Mighty Machinists Mobilize in Massachusetts.”

The District 15 members voted for IAM representation in September. But, the company responded to the vote by harassing the team of auto technicians. Sources say Country Nissan battered the new bargaining unit by using tactics to turn away customers and avoid scheduling service and repairs.

“If there’s no work, we don’t get paid!” said IAM District 15 member
Jose Viera.

Frustrated and without a first contract, the technicians went on strike on the cold streets of New England in early November. Since then, life on the picket line has been peppered with persecution. Management, as shown in the video spying on Machinists members, has allegedly tried to intimidate strikers.

“We’ve had two incidents where guys were hit by cars,” said Russell Gittlen, IAM District 15 Area Director. “It’s been rough.”

“One of their salesman bull-rushed two of our members that were walking down the sidewalk. He tried to run through them with his shoulder and he bounced off of them,” said District 15 Business Representative Mike Vartabedian.

“In the case of the Spanish guys, the company has gone after them because of their ethnic background and because they can’t speak English well,” said Gittlen.

Despite the danger and risk, the District 15 members have gotten strong support from the local community. Local labor unions and college students routinely join IAM members outside in freezing weather.

“People are honking, cheering and stopping by the strike line several times,” said Vartabedian. “People have stopped by with boxes of donuts and coffee and just handed it to us. They tell us to keep up the good fight. Horns are honking every two minutes!”

Members say that community-wide support has provided strong motivation as they fight for fairness on the job.

“We want a contract!” said Gittlen. “At the end of the day, these guys followed every rule in the book and they voted for a union. So the company owes it to them to sit down and negotiate a fair and equitable contract for the employees.”

Watch “Mighty Machinists Mobilize in Massachusetts.”