Auto parts workers at the Piston Automotive factory in Toledo, Ohio, went on strike for union recognition this morning—a move that could quickly shut down production of the new Jeep Cherokee, built by Chrysler in a plant across town.
Jeep workers said production had been starting and stopping during the first shift. On the picket line, Jim Waingrow, UAW international rep for the region, said he was expecting a call from Jeep management any minute. At 2 p.m. the Piston CEO was spotted conferring with the union’s regional director.
Piston workers said 75-80 percent had signed cards asking for UAW representation, but management had refused to recognize them. The 70 workers make brake systems and struts for the Cherokee.
It’s the norm for companies to refuse to recognize new bargaining units, even when a majority of workers sign cards. These days a union’s typical next step is filing for an election with the National Labor Relations Board—but this gives the boss a chance to drag out the process and put workers through an anti-union wringer. Strikes for recognition, once common, have become rare.