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Dealers, mechanics union reach accord on new 4-year pact

November 22, 2010

The risk of a labor dispute among dealership service and body shop workers was averted July 24, when members of Automobile Mechanics Local 701 voted to approve a new four-year pact with the New Car Dealer Committee.


The NCDC is a multi-dealer collective bargaining association that was formed to negotiate the contract on behalf of some 185 member dealers. The previous contract expired July 30.


The contract was negotiated for the NCDC by David Radelet and his associates at Franczek Sullivan, the employee relations counsel retained by the CATA.


The contract covers journeyman technicians, body shop employees, apprentices, semi-skilled technicians and lube rack technicians who work at NCDC dealerships that are represented by Local 701.


The union represents employees at about 35 percent of the market’s new-car dealerships.


Under terms of the new agreement, all employees will receive wage increases in each year of the contract. Also, in the face of skyrocketing health care costs, NCDC dealers agreed to increase weekly contributions to the joint health and pension benefit funds with no employee contribution.


Along with these increases in wage and benefits payments, a number of important changes were made in contract language that will place NCDC member dealers in a stronger position to effectively compete on a retail basis for customer service and body shop work.


One significant change is the elimination of the daily guarantee, introduced four years ago, which calculated base pay for incentive journeyman technicians at 6.4 hours a day. In exchange, NCDC dealers agreed to a weekly minimum of 34 incentive hours for those workers for the term of the four-year deal.


In addition, the duties of semi-skilled workers are expanded to include brake jobs, key re-reprogramming and other various tasks; and the job duties of lube rack technicians are expanded to include tires, all filters—including fuel—and other various tasks.


A one-to-two ratio of semi-skilled workers to journeymen mechanics is introduced, but the ratio of apprentices to journeymen, which had been one-to-three under the old contract, is reduced to one-to-two.


Another important change is the clarification of flat-rate times used for various repair work, and expanded opportunities for dealers to run customer specials and establish competitive customer pay menus.


The probationary period for new hires is extended from 45 working days to 60, and the repairs come-back period is extended from 30 working days to 45.


Full details of the new contract will be furnished to affected dealers by attorneys for Franzcek Sullivan. CATA dealers who want additional information about the new contract can call the firm’s Mary Casto at 312-786-6151.