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Tuesday, 31 August 2004 17:00

ASA leaders lobby for Right to Repair Act

Automotive Service Association (ASA) leaders met with U.S. Rep. Chris John, D-La., to discuss the Agreement between the automakers and ASA providing service information to independent repairers. The ASA executive committee briefed Rep. John on the progress of the Agreement. 

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The Motor ehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act, H.R. 2735, has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. John is a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in the state of Louisiana.

Attending the meeting were Geralynn Kottschade, AAM, chairman of ASA's board of directors; Denny Kahler, AAM, chairman-elect; Charlie Elder, AAM, secretary/treasurer; Ron Pyle, ASA president; and Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative.

"Congressman John was pleased to hear the agreement was working well between the automakers and independent repairers. He is supportive of our efforts to keep Congress informed of the progress we are making in obtaining service information," said Redding.

New Government Affairs committee

ASA has also formed a new Government Affairs Committee (GAC). The ASA board of directors appointed the committee to serve in an advisory capacity to the board as they develop legislative policy guidelines. Members of the committee are from both the mechanical and collision divisions.

The Government Affairs Committee members consist of Charlie Elder, AAM, chairman of the committee, Ray Gordon Brake Service, Tallahassee, Fla.; Eddie Ehlert, Mazdonly Ltd., Chamblee, Ga.; Ron Nagy, AAM, Nagy's Body & Frame Shop, Doylestown, Ohio; Don Vidoli, Fairfield County Motorsport, Fairfield, Conn.; and Mike West, Southtowne Auto Rebuild, Tukwila, Wash.

"Governmental affairs are a priority to us and member involvement in this area fits right in with ASA's strategic plan," said Elder. "We want to be proactive rather than reactive in the legislative arena."

Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, said, "ASA appreciates the time, energy and expertise these volunteer leaders bring to the GAC in order to help make it successful."

Tool reimbursement benefit program

A new member benefit will provide members with special discounts on a tool reimbursement program. If employees own and use their own tools and equipment, the benefits of this plan can be significant for both employers and employees.

Through an agreement with Solutions Now!, ASA members are eligible for a special discount when they offer their employees an expense reimbursement plan. The program is designed to reduce employer payroll expenses while increasing employee take-home pay and benefits.

"The tool reimbursement program is applicable to any of our members whose employees provide their own tools or equipment," said John Scully, AAM, ASA executive vice president. "We hope that by offering this benefit to our members, we can assist them in their efforts to attract highly trained technicians, increase employee retention and simplify their expense reimbursement program."

"Solutions is excited about joining forces with the Automotive Service Association," said Todd M. Chambers, Solutions Now! national sales manager. "We have established successful relationships with many ASA members and we are very impressed by the outstanding people throughout the association. We look forward to assisting many more ASA members improve the 'bottom line' for themselves and their employees by providing reimbursement solutions."

The program enables participating employees to receive a separate tool reimbursement check exempt from payroll taxes, in addition to an hourly wage check. The sum of these two checks is consistently greater than an employee's previous single paycheck.

Vocational education bill approved

The U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee has approved by voice vote H.R. 4496, the Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., chairman of the House Education Reform Subcommittee, to assist states and communities in strengthening vocational and technical education.

"The Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act is the next logical step in our ongoing efforts to strengthen and reform education in America," said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee. "The bill will build on the foundation of the No Child Left Behind Act, and ensure students participating in vocational and technical education at the secondary and post secondary levels have greater educational opportunities now and into the future."

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The Carl Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, known as the Perkins Program, is an important part of the educational systems in states and local communities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 66 percent of all public secondary schools have one or more vocational and technical education programs with approximately 96 percent of high school students taking at least one vocational or technical course.

"To assist states as they work to improve vocational and technical education, the bill would enhance learning opportunities for students, strengthen state and local accountability, and streamline funding. This will allow states and local communities to make the most of vocational and technical education resources," said Boehner.

Two new partnerships

Partnerships with the Automotive Service Councils of California and the Florida Automotive Trades Association were recently approved and ratified by ASA's board of directors. The opportunity for industry groups to participate in partnership relationships is a result of ASA's strategic plan.

"In 2003, ASA asked its affiliate organizations to adopt the ASA name as part of their title. Groups selecting to maintain their established identities continue to have strong relationships with ASA, but under a partnership agreement," said Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive. "While their membership is best served by retaining an identity distinct from the association, they also recognize the value of partnership with ASA. We're pleased to maintain our strong bond with both groups."

ASA currently has 16 affiliates throughout the United States. Working hand-in-hand, ASA, its affiliates and partners are able to better provide local representation, meetings and education to the industry.

Automotive Service Pros reception

The International Automotive Technicians' Network (iATN) and the Automotive Service Association (ASA) will jointly sponsor the third annual Service Professionals Industry Reception Nov. 4 from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. in the Sunset Ballroom of the Flamingo Las Vegas. The event will be an opportunity for service professionals to network and to visit 50-plus exhibitors that will be on hand to showcase new products, services and technologies.

The reception will take place during the AAPEX and SEMA shows, which will run Nov. 2-5, and will officially launch ASA's Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS), to be held Nov. 4-6.

There is no cost to attend the reception and advance registration is not required. Attendees, however, must be iATN or ASA members and have either an AAPEX or CARS badge to access the event.

"Three years ago we combined the iATN and the ASA receptions to form the Service Professionals Industry Reception. This jointly sponsored reception now brings together more service professionals than any other single event during Industry Week. It provides the perfect opportunity to meet with others in the service industry, and a chance for iATN members, who mainly communicate online, to put a face with a name," said Brent Black, iATN founder and president.

Bill Haas, AAM, ASA's vice president, service repair markets, said, "CARS caters to the automotive service professional. Working with iATN to provide essential networking opportunities such as the Service Professionals Industry Reception is not only rewarding, but also serves several segments of the industry. This opportunity will be beneficial for technicians, shop owners, managers and company vendors alike."

 

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