Legislators are considering two bills that would regulate minimum labor rates for body, paint, frame, and mechanical repair shops. The two pieces of legislation, S.B. 122 and H.B. 1043, have gained a great amount of support and scrutiny.
Among supporters is the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts. This Alliance claims for over a decade Massachusetts collision auto shops have received the lowest labor rates in the country despite the fact that they operate one of the highest cost states. The national average hourly labor rate as of September 30th 2009 was $45.02 while Massachusetts averaged at $35,75 an hour. This puts Massachusetts as the second lowest average hourly wage for this profession only behind Tennessee.
The proposed legislation would create an 11-member labor rate commission to to determine the appropriate minimum hourly labor rates based on the national labor rate and other factors. This committee would also determine assign a certain class for each shop– “A,” “B” and “C” – with an application and inspection process for each classification.
Labor rates paid would be based on shop classifications as follows:
• Level “A” shops must be paid an amount not less than 100 percent of the indexed hourly rate in force.
• Level “B” shops must be paid an amount not less than 90 percent of the indexed hourly rate in force.
• Level “C” shops must be paid a labor rate that’s fair and reasonable.
The proposed commission would consist of: the undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation as chairperson, two Senate members, two House members, three representatives of the auto insurance industry appointed by the Auto Insurance Bureau, and three representatives of the collision industry appointed by the AASP. Keep your eyes open for more news on the two pieces of legislation, it may affect where you take your vehicle for its next oil change!