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Joe Henry

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Industry pulls trigger, hits foot PART 1

Easy/Hard          

It’s easy to get into debt/hard to get out

It’s easy to gain weight/not so easy to shed the pounds

Easy to make a Technician career look attractive/hard to make that image a reality

Warning: This op-ed is not a ‘Flower Power’ piece, it’s tough love.

Auto Industry Operates in the United States of Amnesia

Unless you have lived under a parts counter for the past three years, most everyone in dealer world heard that Chicagoland’s Tech union Local 701 declared a strike  in August of 2017 in over 140 dealerships.  The seven week strike caused dissention and scar tissue on both sides.

As if that trauma was not enough, recently a consolidator took over some of the Chicagoland dealerships. The consolidator breached the agreement and the Union took the case to court…. and won. But the technician blog boards and social media groups light up like a summer lightning storm.

The expression “You can run from yourself, but you can’t hide!” applies here.  You can’t imagine how vile the messages were from techs about dealers on forums. 

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Technicians

Actions by employers continue to raise the high watermark on why Techs hate their jobs A small splash causes BIG waves on social media.

Let’s go look at some common, unedited comments posted on Indeed.com on one of their forums (By the way – why would any employer post their technician job on this board when techs can see these right near their job ads???)

(Forums > Job > Automotive Technician)

-Please, anyone considering this field, learn from what I have to say. This field is a black hole. The money isn't there, the UTI commercials are a lie to get you in the door so they can profit from your student loans.

-I flagged 13.7 hours last week...22.7 this week. I was there for 50 hours both weeks. I am drowning in student loan debt and tool debt. Customers are stupid blockheads who just look for the cheapest oil change deal that week and never do any needed maintenance. You go for broke. This industry is broken, you will be broken, this isn't fun like your hobby car, this is hard work, low pay and bull pay systems to make your pay even lower.

-I don't care how much you know or how much you love working on cars, you will be starved out at the beginning stages unless you live at home with mom and dad, no wife, no kids, and they feed you.

-Don't learn the hard way like me. I doubt I can afford rent this month.

-Couldn’t agree more, been doing for 12 years and the only thing I have to show for it is a busted back, bad knees, and a severed tendon in my hand. Flat rate is a total joke and should be illegal. I thank god every day they I will never have to turn wrenches for a living again!

-I have been turning wrenches since the early 80`s and couldn`t agree more. It was a good living in the beginning but as the years have gone by it has steadily gotten worse. I wish I could get into something else that has a more steady income (this roller coaster called a paycheck sucks!). 

-I have a friend who went to Nashville Auto Diesel school years ago and he was guaranteed $850+ per week at Ford for years until he quit and opened his own shop. You have to manage your money and he did it by working toward a goal of owning his own shop. Don't have a bunch of kids, wife that doesn't work, don't get too deep in debt, and try to save some money!

-You have not been keeping up on the laws have you? In CA your employer MUST pay you double the minimum wage for every hour NOT spent working on vehicles......waiting for parts is considered to be "not working on vehicles". Basically you are paid a flat salary with performance bonuses now. Flat rate alone IS illegal in CA.

-When I started 15 years ago I had a very different view of this job. I accept now that it's not the most interesting. But the worst part is it beats up your body and only getting 2 or 3 weeks off a year and lifting and smashing metal while standing on concrete all day destroys you. I'm 35 and tired of the boss saying I come to work sick why can’t you... Sitting behind a desk is a lot different. Plus the size of the vehicles now and what is expected. I'm officially done. And so many shops wonder why they can’t find good mechanics... If I got paid a fair wage then I would, but I make less now than I did before and the cost of living is higher as well. Sadly this is no longer a good trade, and my body aches. And I have to worry what I do on my off time because injuries in this trade can really hinder you and make life difficult.

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