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Rate of Change: Mass. collision repairers to run motorcade Wednesday, protesting U.S.’s lowest labour rates

Boston, Massachusetts — In a long overdue response to being known as the state with the lowest labour rate in the U.S., the collision repairers of Massachusetts will be putting their words into action this week with an organized motorcade and demonstration planned for outside the state house in Boston on Wednesday.

In conjunction with this public demonstration, officially organized by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA), members of the collision repair industry and their families are urging the public to contact their local legislators about improving the state’s $40 labour rate.

Part of the motorcade’s goal will be to send a visual message to lawmakers and the public, as demonstrators plan to haul damaged vehicles on flatbed trucks along the route. AASP-MA executive director, Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg said the organization expects at least 200 people to show up for the event.

He said some body shops are even planning to close for the day to give all of their employees the opportunity to take part.

A large 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.

A report submitted to the Joint Committee on Financial Services on April 13 called “Special Commission on Auto Body Labor Rates” stated “The Commission recognizes that auto body labor rates must be addressed and that the auto body labor rate has not increased significantly since 1988.”

Papageorg says his organization is committed to ensuring that some concrete action is taken from the report and is not shelved due to inaction like a similar 2008 report that called for a review of rates and competition in the insurance industry.

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