Allentown mechanics vote to strike citing low wages and safety concerns

Written by on April 30, 2021

Allentown mechanics vote to strike citing low wages and safety concerns

By Ben Stemrich

April 30, 2021

Screenshot of WLVR’s Ben Stemrich’s Facebook Live of the Allentown mechanics union event on April 29, 2021.

The mechanics who keep the City of Allentown’s vehicles running are planning to strike citing safety concerns and low wages. They are employed by Centera Transport Inc., a Chicago-based company that leases and operates the garage. 

Listen to the story.

Ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks depend on city mechanics. On April 29, union leaders voted 9-1 to strike. 

Juilio Vargas, a vehicle technician, read the results to a crowd of about 50.

“We’re understaffed, we’re underpaid, we’re under-certified, we’re overworked. We get very little pat on the back. It’s, the compensation is not there,” Vargas says.

Those issues have led to incidents like emergency vehicles going out into the snow without tire chains and getting stuck. 

Union member Daisy Cruz says they are looking for fair wages but that’s not all.

“But it is also important that they have the parts that they need to do, that they have the equipment that they need to do. But now these workers are just to their wits end and they can’t do anything more,” Cruz says.

Union leaders say they will walk out, but timing is still being discussed.

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