Union members and dealers agree they're both getting squeezed by automakers on warranty repairs because the companies have trimmed the time they allow for techs to do the work.
Chris Becktel is a journeyman technician at Toyota of Naperville, a dealership with a high-volume service department. He says Toyota's book times for warranty work are "almost fair," but adds that the automaker is cutting those times. That makes them closer to times set by the domestic automakers, which have long been a source of complaints from dealers and techs.
Replacing brake rotors and pads on a retail job is allowed two hours, Becktel says, but on a warranty ticket it's only six-tenths of an hour, including diagnosis. Techs are required to do some of the paperwork on a warranty repair on the clock, he notes.
"They keep reducing the times, and that makes the job less attractive," Becktel told Fixed Ops Journal. "It's always hurry, hurry, hurry, but make sure it's done right."
Sam Cicinelli, a former tech and the directing business representative of Local 701, says shorter times for warranty repairs have offset pay increases for techs because they can't book as many hours as they used to.
"You have to be a superhero to be able to book 50 hours in a 40-hour workweek," Cicinelli says. "There's only a certain percentage of people who are capable of doing that."
Shirey says he and other dealers feel the same pain on warranty repairs because they receive lower reimbursements from automakers. Dealerships must document every repair, he adds, with no wiggle room to add time.
"It's a mutual issue for collective bargaining, and frankly, I don't have a solution," Shirey says. "I hear from my mechanics that they don't feel that the times are commensurate with what they need to do to fix the vehicles. I'm on their side on that."