Berkeley Honda Strike Ends, Giant Rat Wins

April 27, 2006 -  A giant 12-foot rat, a highly-visible symbol against corporate greed, came down at Berkley Honda in Berkley, California after striking auto technicians of IAM Local 1546 won a new contract and voted by a wide margin to approve it.

The new five-year deal guarantees some of the highest wages in the area, delivers the IAM National Pension Plan and the Machinists 401K, improves the Health and Welfare plan and includes return to work language that addresses all the striking workers.

“This victory is a prime example of what happens when determined workers, a community that cares about how businesses conduct themselves in their backyards, and experienced and dedicated IAM Business Representatives like Don Crosatto get together,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson.

“This is a good contract, and all parties have much to be proud of. They have raised the bar on community activity. We appreciate Mayor Tom Bates’ support, and everyone who supported this process.”

The strike began last June, after the dealership formally known as Jim Doten Honda was sold and new owners required employees to reapply for their jobs. While most were rehired, seven with the most seniority, including the shop steward at the dealership, were not. The new owners also sought to scrap the employees’ defined benefit pension plan.

Defined benefit pension plans are under attack across the country, with healthy and ailing companies seeking to abandon long standing pension commitments. The technicians at Berkley Honda will now have a secure, defined benefit pension under the fully-funded IAM National Pension Plan.