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CATA Bulletin
September 1, 2014

 

Barbecues raise $90,000 for USO

August 29, 2014

For the second straight year, new-car dealer members of the CATA on July 19 joined forces with the USO of Illinois to host Barbecue for the Troops events at 65 dealerships, and the $90,000 raised was double the amount of the inaugural effort. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will be donated to the USO to support local military and their families. 
"As chairman of the CATA," said Colin Wickstrom, "I am blown away not only by the commitment from our dealers to host barbecue fundraisers for the troops, but also by the amount of time and effort dedicated to making these grassroots events just extraordinary."
"Whether a dealer’s event individually raised $100 or $10,000 for local troops," he said, "Chicagoans couldn’t miss the amount of advocacy and support felt throughout the communities on that single day in July."  
USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble said: "It’s not only the Chicago Automobile Trade Association that has mobilized its dealers, but it’s the dealers who mobilized their communities to support military members and their families, and we greatly appreciate their support. The $90,000 raised will directly help more than 300,000 servicemen and women locally." 
Beyond the USO Barbecue for the Troops initiative, the CATA is committed to supporting both active duty military and veterans year-round.
As producer of the Chicago Auto Show, the CATA waives the show entrance fee for active-duty members of the military as a small gesture to thank them for their service. The CATA also ran a recent program named Operation Troop Train to train and hire veterans for careers in local automotive dealerships. 
Because of the CATA’s year-round commitment and support of local troops, the USO of Illinois plans to publicly recognize the association with the Salute to Leadership Award during the USO Star-Spangled Gala in October.  Past recipients include the Chicago Blackhawks and Boeing Co.
"We’re beyond humbled to be considered for the USO Salute to Leadership Award for our active role in supporting our troops," Wickstrom said. "We look forward to advancing in our partnership with the USO of Illinois and providing support to local troops through the association’s year-round efforts. This is a cause everyone can rally around."  
For more information on the CATA, visit www.cata.info.  
 
 

Dealers, Teamsters Local 731 agree to new 4-year labor pact

August 29, 2014

About 75 area dealers reached agreement on a new labor contract with Teamsters Local 731 on Aug. 17, when union members ratified the deal.
The union represents parts countermen, stockroom attendants, garage attendants, drivers, and utility employees.
The dealers were represented in negotiations by the CATA’s employee relations counsel, Dave Radelet of Franczek Radelet P.C.
Highlights of the new collective bargaining agreement include the following:
 
• Four-year agreement effective Aug. 1, 2014 to July 31, 2018;
• Annual wage increases varying by job classification and seniority; 
• One-time increase to new-hire wage progressions except as necessary to comply with minimum wage laws:
• Increased employee contributions to the Health & Welfare Fund;
• No increase to dealer contributions to the Health & Welfare Fund;
• Minimal increase to dealer contributions to the Pension Fund;
• Combined birthday, holiday, and personal days;
• New language to comply with the Affordable Care Act, the new Illinois concealed carry law, and potential increase to the minimum wage;
• Designated holidays to align with the 701 contract;
• Recognition of parts warehouse as a separate department;
• Added "threatening" conduct as grounds for immediate discharge;
• Expanded circumstances allowing testing under the Substance Abuse policy to align with the 701 contract;
• Expanded Garage Attendant duties to include the application of door edge guards and side moldings; and
• Expanded Stockroom Attendant duties to include driving courtesy vehicles/shuttles, and occasional parts pick-up/delivery when a driver is not available.
 
Further details about the new agreement can be obtained by contacting Dave Radelet’s assistant, Mary Casto, at (312) 786-6151 or mfp@franczek.com.  
The CATA congratulates the dealers involved in the negotiations. Any dealer with additional questions about the agreement should contact Franczek Radelet at (312) 986-0300 and ask for either Dave Radelet or Dave’s partner, Chris Johlie. 
The union will produce and disseminate copies of the agreement in the near future.
 
 

CATA meets with IDES over reporting fines

August 29, 2014

Upon learning that about a half-dozen area dealers had been penalized by the Illinois Department of Employment Security for failing to file monthly contribution and wage reports, staff of the CATA met Aug. 26 with officials of the state agency.
A 2012 Illinois law calls for businesses with 25 or more employees to file monthly and quarterly reports; the penalized dealerships said they had not been informed of the requirement. Businesses previously were called to submit the reports quarterly.
Statutory language penned by the Illinois General Assembly provides no wiggle room for the IDES to waive or reduce penalties incurred under the new requirement, the department officials said. One north suburban dealership was assessed more than $10,000 in fines.
Kevin Denny, the IDES manager of employer problem resolution, said he hopes the state reconsiders the penalties it has meted out.
"There is hope. The specifics and the details are still coming," Denny said. Any penalty forgiveness likely would be in the form of credit to accounts, not refunds.
Bennett Krause, the department’s director of employer and community outreach, said that the IDES should not be viewed only as a punitive agency, and he noted tax credits that the IDES awards to companies which hire disabled veterans, food stamp recipients, people who have been incarcerated, and others.
Krause said the IDES would give a presentation at the CATA to highlight the various tax credits available to businesses.
Krause also encouraged all companies to sign up to receive IDES newsletters, to keep abreast of reporting changes and notices about candidates for employment. Register email addresses at the IDES website, www.ides.illinois.gov.    
The monthly wage reporting requirement was phased in since 2012 based on the number of workers at a business: 250 or more, January 2013; 100-249, July 2013; 50-99, January 2014; 25-49, July 2014.
A Chicago dealer said his workforce never exceeds 47 employees on a given day, so he expected to begin monthly reporting during the final phase-in period. But the IDES considers the total number of people who work at a business during a reporting period. Because the dealer replaced three workers who had departed, his obligation actually began in January 2014, and he was hit with $800 in fines.
The monthly reporting law, referred to as the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act, was designed to root out waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s Medicaid program.
 
 

CATA reviewing potential approved lighting partner(s)

August 29, 2014

The CATA Member Benefits Committee on Aug. 20 listened to initial presentations from four potential lighting partners. The committee is continuing to review proposals from these companies and is hoping to select a lighting partner (or partners) later this fall.  
Important, dealers currently considering lighting improvement or replacement projects should make sure they are working with contractors and ComEd before beginning construction, in order to take advantage of rebates for which they may be eligible.
There is substantial ComEd funding available to help dealers offset the cost of energy efficient lighting projects, but the allocations must be applied for and approved by ComEd while a project is in the planning stages.  Once construction has begun, the ComEd rebates are off the table.
 
 

'Engage' in new opportunities

August 29, 2014

By Mark Scarpelli, Chicago Metro NADA Director
 
Rising car sales are leading the economic recovery. Dealers are hiring. And for the first time since the Great Recession, new-car dealerships across the country now employ more than 1 million people.
The forecast this year calls for sales of about 16.4 million new cars and light trucks. Next year, the forecast is even brighter with sales of nearly 16.8 million new vehicles.
Now is the perfect time to Engage in your future.
Looking ahead to 2015, the NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco next January offers dealers and their managers as well as the entire auto industry a premiere forum to exchange ideas and learn new ways to improve business operations.
And even if you’ve been to the NADA convention in the past, there’s always something new to learn. If you’ve never been to the convention before, what are you waiting for?
The 24 dealer-manufacturer franchise meetings, 59 new workshop topics and 126 workshop sessions and numerous networking events are second-to-none. They’ll make you and your dealerships leaner, smarter and ready to tackle the challenges for 2015 and beyond.
 
Engage in new technology and social media. New to the workshop program in 2015 are the Super Sessions on Thursday, Jan. 22, which includes a panel of successful NADA NextGen dealers who will share their insight on how emerging technologies are reshaping auto retailing, as well as a DrivingSales.com presentation on best practices to win digital buyers; and on Sunday, Jan. 25, the Technology Town Halls feature Q&A sessions with key executive staff from eBay, Google and others on how they can help dealers sell more cars.
We’ve also expanded the Expo, which will include nearly 500 companies exhibiting in more than 600,000 square feet at the Moscone Center.
The keynote speakers are former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Jay Leno and inspirational speaker Beck Weathers, as well as Forrest McConnell III, the 2014 NADA chairman, and NADA Vice Chairman Bill Fox. The speaker bios are available here.
The four-day event, dubbed the "Automotive Industry Event of the Year," runs Thursday, Jan. 22, to Sunday, Jan. 25, at the Moscone Center.
Online registration is open. Dealers and their managers should make their reservations as soon as possible. Hotels rooms are filling up quickly. Attendee registration is at its highest pace since 2007. Fourteen hotels have already sold out.
Join us in San Francisco, and Engage in new opportunities.
We look forward to seeing you there!
 
 

Respect is top attribute for women shoppers

August 29, 2014

Trustworthiness has always been a top influence on a female car shopper’s buying decision, but a new study shows another attribute tops that: respect.
The Women-Drivers.com study of top salesperson attributes was assembled from reviews by women car buyers. 
 
1. Respectful
2. Trustworthy
3. Likeable
4. Knowledgeable
5. Understanding
The price of the vehicle came in sixth, in terms of influence. 
"Of course this doesn’t mean that price is not important; it is a critical component," the company’s analysis indicated. "It means that having a personal, empathic, real, approachable, open and friendly engagement is paramount first. After a sales adviser has passed the EQ litmus test (Emotional Quotient) of a female customer, then, and only then, will there be a discussion regarding the price of that vehicle," the company concluded. 
 
 

In Memoriam, Sept. 1, 2014

August 29, 2014

William F. Haeger III, who operated four franchises in Chicago’s northwest suburbs in the 1980s and ’90s, died Aug. 18. He was 82.
Mr. Haeger was proprietor of Des Plaines Chrysler-Plymouth in that city, and of Bill Haeger Jeep-Eagle in Arlington Heights. He also was a past chairman of the National Chrysler Motors Dealer Council, 
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Mr. Haeger also was a past president of the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce and a former member of the Des Plaines Lions Club and the Des Plaines Elks Club. In addition, the sports fan served as a ball spotter at Chicago Bears games.
 
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; daughters Kimberly and Patricia; sons Michael, Gary and William; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Contributions appreciated to PAWS Chicago, an animal adoption center, or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
 
Stella M. Hennessy, the mother of CATA Treasurer John Hennessy, died Aug. 21 at age 81.
A longtime parishioner at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Clarendon Hills, Mrs. Hennessy was remembered by her children as "the heart of her family. Her cherished legacy of strength, laughter, generosity, faith and unconditional love will live in our hearts forever."
Her husband of 53 years, Joseph Hennessy, who was the 1975-1977 president of the CATA, died in March. Other survivors include a son, Joseph; daughters Nina, Amy and Catherine; and 14 grandchildren. 
Memorials appreciated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.