Militant Journalism

San Diego: Machinists at Southern California’s first ever unionized dealership are on strike

Machinists at Mercedes Benz of San Diego are striking against unfair labor practices and management’s refusal to negotiate fairly for their new contract. For 18 days, workers have picketed Southern California’s first unionized car dealership. The workers are affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1484.

A total of 35 out of 40 workers are participating in the strike. The workers have been joined on the picket line by unions such as Teamsters Local 542 and grassroots organizations like the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Liberation News talked to workers on the picket line. Pedro Gomez, an automotive technician who has worked at Mercedes Benz of San Diego for 20 years said, “We’re out here on an unfair labor practice strike, because the company started implementing rules they shouldn’t have been implementing, causing some write-ups in order to intimidate us so we would take their offers at the table. And we’re okay with negotiating our contract, but we’re not okay with negotiating while they’re trying to bully us and intimidate us.”

Interview with Pedro Gomez. Liberation Media

The workers are demanding a fair contract and for management to rescind the write-ups. Gomez continued, “We have the right to take action and that’s what we’re doing.”

Beyond local support from the community, the workers received viral support. A TikTok video posted by Gomez that documents the machinists walking off the job has garnered over 2.1 million views at the time this article was published.

Justin Brumley, a mechanic on strike, told Liberation News, “The management at the dealership started treating us unfairly, breaking all sorts of labor laws to try to force us into a poor contract … We’re going to be out here as long as it takes.”

There is a strong sense of unity on that picket line. Several workers expressed that they think their struggle will have a major impact on the future of workplace organizing at nearby dealerships and the industry as a whole. As union consciousness continues to spread across the country, working-class consciousness will take root.

Support these workers by joining them on the picket line Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

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