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Wednesday, 18 May 2022 09:49

Massachusetts Auto Body Techs Demanding Higher Pay Surround Beacon Hill

Written by Matthew Medsger, Boston Herald
Protesters gather May 18 on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. Protesters gather May 18 on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. AASP-MA/Facebook

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Auto body repair mechanics crashed the Massachusetts State House on May 18, joined by dozens of tow trucks circling the building, horns blaring, to push for a pay hike on what the industry says are the lowest-in-the-nation reimbursement rates.

“34 years---we’ve changed almost nothing,” Tom Ricci, legislative director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA), said to a raucous crowd of auto body shop owners and workers.

 

“This is our day to make a lot of noise---not just a little, don’t be shy, let’s go, let’s rock this place---we’ve done this for so long, since 1988,” he said.

 

The group gathered outside the State House to demand action on a pair of proposals before the lawmakers that would raise the lowest-in-the-nation labor rate for auto body repairs.

 

The bills, H.1111 and S.709, both called "An Act to establish minimum reimbursement rate to insurance claimants," are currently being ironed out between the legislative chambers through a joint committee. Both would set the rate for repair at upwards of $78 per hour of labor, according to advocates.

 

The current rate is just $40 per hour, which, according to the group, is the lowest in the nation and just $10 more than it was in 1988.

 

AASP-MA Executive Director Evangelo “Lucky” Papageorg said the industry is filled with technicians that started because they thought it was a cool job, one that they learned to love. That passion, he said, does not feed their families though.

 

“The problem is that...


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