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A Fairer Deal: Damaged vehicles surround Mass. state house as repairers protest low labour rates

Boston, Massachusetts — The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts put the value of their work on full display Wednesday, as members of the organization rallied around the Massachusetts State House with damaged vehicles loaded up on flatbeds, protesting their state’s exceptionally low repair labour rate.

Organizers of the motorcade pointed to “unsustainably low rates” set by insurance companies as being the primary reason for why the state has not seen a repair rate increase in 11 years.

Massachusetts’ $40 per hour repair rate is the lowest in the U.S. and Brian Bernard, co-owner of Total Care Accident Repair in Raynham, Mass. told NBC 10 Boston it “falls far short of covering the body shop owners’ labor, equipment, training and repair costs,” causing many consumers to “have to pay the difference out of pocket.”

“We’ve done our best to bring attention to this issue, but at this point we need to make it clear to insurers and consumers that we cannot do this work at the current reimbursement rates,” Bernard said in a statement.

The AASP-MA says the labour rate has increased only $10 since 1988 while the Consumer Price Index has increased 137.7 percent and insurance premiums have increased 254 percent.

State senator Michael Moore says he is continuing a push for “legislative change that increases the labour rate to make the industry viable and consumers safe.”

Part of AASP-MA’s current mandate is to support House Bill 1111, which seeks to amend the labour rate to account for 34 years of inflation as well as index future changes to the region’s Consumer Price Index.

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