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CATA Bulletin
April 30, 2012

 

Employee Rights poster stopped, but timeline to hold union elections reduced

April 27, 2012

A U.S. appelate court on April 17 put on hold a National Labor Relations Board notice posting rule that was to have taken effect April 30. It is the third time implementation of the rule has been delayed.
 
The rule would require most private businesses to display an 11-by-17 workplace poster that informs employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, including the right to form and join unions. The poster does not inform employees of their right not to join a union or how to seek decertification of a union.
 
Several business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business, challenged the NLRB’s authority to require the notice posting.
 
The District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals will hear appeals of this month’s injunction in September.
 
Another regulation that does take effect April 30 reduces the time after employees petition for unionization until a representation election is held. The change improves union efforts to organize more workplaces.
 
The Senate on April 24 rejected a Republican attempt to overturn the new regulation. The 54-45 vote against a resolution of disapproval, largely along party lines, leaves intact the new National Labor Relations Board rule. Unions had sought the rules changes while business groups opposed them. Senate Democrats unanimously supported the new regulations. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican supporting them.
 
Under the existing regulations, workers typically vote within 45-60 days after a union gathers enough signatures from workers who say they want to hold an election. The new rules could cut that time by days or even weeks by simplifying procedures and putting off some challenges until after the election is held, cutting back hearings and reducing legal delays.
 
The new rules could help unions expand in the private sector, where membership has dwindled to about 6.9 percent of all workers. Retailers like Target and Wal-Mart are concerned that the new rules will encourage unions to step up organizing at their stores.
 
“With only about 5 percent average unionization, retailers are low-hanging fruit for union organizers,” said David French, a vice president of government relations for the National Retail Federation.
 
 

Participation in the 2012 NADA compensation survey ends May 2

April 27, 2012

Participation in the latest National Automobile Dealers Association study on employee compensation and other concerns runs until May 2.
 
Only NADA and ATD members are eligible to participate. It is free to participate, and participating dealers will receive a free individualized report comparing their own employee wages, benefits and retention to the regional and national industry.
 
The study will provide dealers with valuable comparative data to assess and adjust, if necessary, their employee compensation programs, health and retirement benefit packages, and find out what it takes to be competitive in recruiting new employees, said Marilynn Youngs of the NADA.
 
“All individual dealership data will be kept secure and remain strictly confidential,” Youngs added.
 
To participate in the 2012 Dealership Workforce Study, visit www.nadaworkforcestudy.com.
 
Once the study is completed, the association indicated that participating dealers will receive a free copy of the basic report that compares their individual dealership to the regional and national industry, as well as the Driven management guide summary report.
 
Dealers who do not participate in the survey, the NADA noted, will not be eligible to receive the comparative Dealership Workforce Study reports but can purchase the Driven management guide.
 
“So far, dealer participation has been strong, and dealers are telling us that it’s quick and easy to complete the survey,” Youngs said.
 
“A higher number of dealers participating in the study will result in more detailed reports comparing data at the national, regional, state and metro levels.”
 
 

CATA to host 1st Chicago digital dealer conference May 9-10

April 27, 2012

A conference providing information on some of the hottest digital marketing topics in the industry—SEO, social media, Internet marketing, leveraging data, tracking, BDC departments, online reviews, chat, mobile apps and more—convenes May 9-10 at the CATA.
 
The two-day Chicago DigitalCON will gather the industry’s best digital subject matter experts from around the country to share the latest online strategies to help dealerships learn ways to enhance their online marketing. 
 
Chicago DigitalCON is free to either the principal or sales manager of each CATA dealership. Additional employees can register for $199 each.
 
The conference opens May 9 with a keynote address delivered by Chip Perry, chief executive of Autotrader.com. Conference hours are 1-5 p.m. May 9 and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. May 10.
 
Other scheduled speakers include Pat Ryan, Founder of FirstLook and MAX Systems; Eric Brown, CEO and co-founder of Dataium; Bobby Gaudreau of IMN; Greg Wells, Senior Partner of Kain Automotive; Rob Mudd, principal of Mudd Advertising; Heather MacKinnon of DealerRater; and a social media panel hosted by Gaurav Shroff, Barry Saltzman, Kirsten Kamerman and Irfan Jafrey.
 
For full details and to register, go to www.chicagodigitalcon.com. The conference is organized by Automotive Internet Media, Inc., a premier integrated media and lead distribution company.
 
The Courtyard by Marriott Oakbrook Terrace, which is adjacent to the CATA, is offering discounted hotel rates on May 9. Call (630) 691-1500.
 
 

701 union pension fund status to be discussed

April 27, 2012

Attorneys of Franczek Radelet P.C., the CATA’s labor relations counsel, will review how dealers should administer the contracts of employees represented by Automobile Mechanics Local No. 701, in light of the union’s pension fund status.
 
The review, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. May 8, follows the fund’s change from “endangered status” in 2011 to “critical status” in 2012. Dealers who want to attend must register in advance with the firm. Call Mary Casto at (312) 786-6151.
 
The immediate implications of this change for dealers are that:
 
• Contribution surcharges will be required on pension fund contributions for work weeks beginning in June 2012 that are reported and paid in July; and
 
• Dealers who have the Standard Automotive Agreement will not be required to pay a portion of the wage increase that was to go into effect on August 1, 2012.
 
Dealers effectively will be protected from the financial impact of the contribution surcharges. Nevertheless, it is important that dealers administer the provisions correctly to achieve that protection.
 
Discussion will focus on what is being done to address the pension funding and what happens next; how to report contribution surcharges and when they are paid; and from which job classes dealers will realize wage savings, and how long those savings will last.
 
 

CATA-approved Member Partners--updated

April 27, 2012

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association has identified a number of CATA allied members who offer programs designed to save the member dealers money. The vendors provide exceptional service and are working with the CATA to extend these benefit programs to our members.
 
The CATA has approved an opportunity for dealer members to benefit by accessing Aflac insurance coverage for their employees. For those not aware, Aflac coverage is completely funded by the employees who choose coverage, meaning dealers can enhance their employee-benefits package by offering Aflac without costing the dealership a dime.
 
CIMCO is a Chicago-based provider of dedicated T1 phone and internet solutions. The parent company of CIMCO is Comcast, which offers triple-play coax- and fiber-based services. The partnership with the CATA provides a redundant telecom solution for CATA dealer members.
 
Dealers are encouraged to take advantage of a partnership between The CATA and DealersEdge to provide high-quality training and informational webinars to dealers at a significantly discounted rate.
 
The CATA has negotiated for its members discounted credit card processing rates with First Payment Systems. All CATA dealer members qualify for guaranteed low rates through the CATA Bank Card Program.
 
Utility Management Group is a full-service energy consulting firm. The CATA encourages its members to explore the energy offerings of Utility Management Group, a licensed Illinois energy broker.
 
For more information on the association’s Approved Member Partners, or if you are interested in becoming an Approved Member Partner, please visit http://www.cata.info/resources/cata_member_benefits.
 
 

NADA meets carmakers over renovations study

April 27, 2012

No solid data exists that new-car dealers would sell one more vehicle by investing $1 million in the dealership, a recent study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association found.
 
NADA Chairman Bill Underriner called the study of the return on investment of factory-mandated renovation programs the top NADA issue. Leadership from the association has met with 12 manufacturers to discuss the study, which was released in February.
 
“It was all over the board,” said Underriner, a dealer in Montana. “We had some manufacturers that said maybe we ought to slow down the process a little bit and take a look at this.
 
“We’ve had other manufacturers that were farther down the road … but were 85 percent complete with [their] facility planning. We had some that said that’s a great idea. We haven’t started our facilities planning yet, but we’ll take it into consideration.”
 
Underriner said the NADA wants to include a discussion of the facilities study at the upcoming round of Dealer Attitude Survey meetings with 30 auto manufacturers.
 
 

In social media or dealer chat, engage the customer: expert

April 27, 2012

By Bill Sengstacken, Contact At Once!
 
Like most businesses, automobile dealerships have warmed to the concept of social media. Your dealership likely has a Facebook page, probably has a Twitter account. Some have already established a presence on Google+.
 
While establishing these accounts is a great start, these actions do little good if you don’t actively engage with the consumer in a fashion which builds both rapport and trust.
 
A common mistake both with social media interaction and with dealer live chat is to try to sell a vehicle in the initial conversation. That may sound counter-intuitive — after all, you’re in the business to sell cars, right?
 
But just like when a customer visits your location, there is a time and a place to close the deal. Admittedly, every situation is unique. But as a general rule, you need to build that rapport and take some time to understand the customer’s needs.
 
Once that is accomplished, you likely can move to a test drive, and the potential for a sale increases from there.
More than a few eager dealers post or tweet statements like “We have over 40 new Nissans in stock—call me now!” Then they wonder why they receive no response.
 
There are a number of reasons why this tactic doesn’t work, but the main one is that they are posting a statement. While it may be a fact that the dealer has 40 Nissans in stock, making a statement doesn’t invite a response.
 
The savvy dealer instead uses the information in a more engaging way, posting a question such as, “Would your commute be better in a new Nissan? We have 40 in stock — what color would you like?”
 
Granted, not everyone is going to respond to that, but by asking a question you may get a response such as “I wish I could afford a blue one.” Now you have an opening to speak about special deals or financing offers, or it could open a conversation about your pre-owned inventories. The key, of course is to get the conversation started.
 
Similarly in dealer chat scenarios, if a customer starts a chat conversation, it is wise to respond with some simple questions such as “Hi, my name is Bill, what’s your name?”
 
In the Robert Cialdini book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” a key takeaway is that if you give somebody something, they are predisposed to give something back. If you give someone your name, as an example, you’re very likely to get a name back.
 
The author is director of marketing at the dealer chat provider, Contact At Once!
 

Profits down for Chinese dealers

April 27, 2012

A changing economic and regulatory environment, coupled with more products and dealerships, have led China vehicle dealers to report lower profits on 2011 operations, compared with 2010, a J.D. Power study found.
 
Findings from the annual study on automotive dealer sentiment, which this year counts 1,605 dealers of 38 different brands in 59 cities in China, indicate the percentage of dealers reporting they were profitable in 2011 fell to 63 percent, compared with 81 percent a year ago. Twenty percent of dealers reported losing money on their operations, up from 9 percent in the 2011 study.
 
“These profit findings are troubling to more than just dealers,” said J.D. Power’s Charles Mills. “Brands need dealers to continue to invest to meet their market potentials, and China customers increasingly expect more from their dealership experiences. This puts brands with lower dealer profitability at a disadvantage relative to competitors.”
 
 

Marketplace April 2012

April 27, 2012

Part-time, temporary help Account receivables, special projects, taxes. Marie Jorgensen, (708) 771-3477.