Penske-Owned Mercedes-Benz Dealership Fires 20 Striking Technicians

The dealership is explicitly hiring new technicians to replace union members accused of "blatant picket line misconduct."

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Photo: @Pedro1977Gomez / Twitter

As reported by Automotive News, dealership technicians at Penske-owned Mercedes-Benz of San Diego went on strike in mid-June. More than a month has passed since the strike began, and it seems tensions between the union technicians and management have boiled over. Dealership management hired scabs to cross the picket line, made formal accusations of improper picketing behavior against the striking technicians, and fired 20 of the picketing workers. The dealership is now seeking to permanent replace the strikers.

The strike began on June 17th after negotiations broke down between management at Mercedes-Benz of San Diego, a dealership owned by Penske Automotive Group, and the dealership’s technicians, represented by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), Local Lodge 1484. The technicians’ previous contract expired in April. Management offered a 15.1-percent increase in base pay for master technicians, and 10-percent increase in base pay for certified technicians. Union members sought guarantees over how many hours they’d get to work on a weekly basis, and that seems to have been the sticking point where negotiations broke down.


Pedro Gomez, a Mercedes-Benz of San Diego technician and union shop steward, has become the public spokesperson for the union technicians on strike. Gomez has been active on social media, especially TikTok, directly interacting with the public to raise awareness and garner support for the strike. He has stated that negotiations before the strike were headed towards a compromise until dealership management attempted to pressure and intimidate workers into accepting a deal sooner. As Gomez told the San Diego Union-Tribune:

They unilaterally changed a bunch of rules, they’re intimidating our co-workers and putting them on final notice for rules they should have never implemented while we’re negotiating.


At the start of July, tensions ramped up when Mercedes-Benz of San Diego filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the union with the National Labor Relations Board. The complaint claims that the union “encouraged blatant picket-line misconduct,” citing examples where picketing employees blocked the entry and exit to the business. The dealership went on to use this event as pretext to fire 20 of the 36 striking technicians. Gomez told the Union-Tribune:

If we’re picketing and customers have to wait for us to cross the driveway, yes that would hinder them from going straight through… but is it unlawfully harassing them? I disagree.


There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the strike. Mercedes-Benz of San Diego has posted job listings for technician positions openly stating that new hires will be permanently replacing the striking technicians.