CLEVELAND, Dec. 22, 2023 – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) are publicly pressuring a Cleveland-area commercial vehicle center to offer a fair contract to its striking mechanics, who are members of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 1363.
The company’s “last, best and final” offer, which was soundly rejected by IAM members, would slash retirement security by ending the company match and significantly cut work hours. Twenty-four IAM Local 1363 members at Valley Ford Truck in Valley View began their strike on Monday, Dec. 18.
Sen. Brown wrote a letter to the Valley Ford Truck President Brian O’Donnell and IAM Local 1363 Directing Business Representative Timothy Verlinden.
“Mr. O’Donnell, as you acknowledged in a statement earlier this week, your ‘employees and customers are what makes Valley Ford the leading truck retailer in Northeast Ohio and beyond,’” wrote Sen. Brown. “… To now make an offer that would further erode worker’s entire retirement security is both short-sighted and an unfair demand.”
Rep. Brown visited the strike line on Wednesday, Dec. 20, helping to boost morale of members taking a stand for their livelihoods in the midst of the holiday season.
“As IAM Local 1363 members at Valley Ford spend the holidays fighting for every working family, the solidarity from Senator Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Shontel Brown means the world,” said IAM Local 1363 Directing Business Representative Timothy Verlinden. “We continue to be ready and willing to negotiate a fair contract with management that preserves our membership’s hard-fought retirement security.”
In previous negotiations, IAM Local 1363 members accommodated a request from management to convert a long-time defined benefit pension into the current defined contribution plan, which company leadership is now seeking to weaken.
“The entire IAM is proud of our members at Local 1363,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “We will continue to provide every resource necessary to obtain a fair and equitable contract for our membership.”