CalABC History of Major Accomplishments Over 23 Years



CalABC California Automotive Business Coalition

  • CALABC begins its relationship with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. After a series of meetings with key industry members and stakeholders, CalABC began to form the vision and mission of CalABC. Based on meetings with our new membership, CalABC began holding meetings with the Bureau in an effort to set repair standards. Ultimately, the Bureau’s management decided that it wasn’t their function to set repair standards for the industry and it really should be the industry and manufacturers setting the standards.

  • CALABC hires Nelson Lucas Public Relations firm. Through the financial support of our members, CalABC retained the firm to help us work on many public relations aspects with the primary goal of getting the Coalition recognized at the Capitol and throughout the state. Working with the firm and after several meetings with the Governor and the Bureau, we decide to hold an industry summit in order to gain consensus from the industry on the key mission of the Coalition. 

  • CALABC Industry Summit. We hosted an industry summit to participate in the Sunset Review process of the Bureau of Automotive Repair. We brought members of the industry together with over 11,500 shops represented of the 34,000 registered in the state. Governor Pete Wilson was sent a letter with a copy of the picture indicating the industries willingness to work with his administration and the concerns it had over how the industry was being portrayed in the state. Governor Wilson encouraged our participation in the Sunset Review based on concerns he heard from us. In the Summit, we determined 3 focus areas. 1) Technician Competency/Shortage, 2) Commission for Auto Repair/Peer Review 3) Consumer Education program on Automotive Repair. 

  • CALABC’s Industry Summit culminates in Governor Wilson signing Executive Order W-188-98.  After 2 years of hard work by the Coalition, its members, and the automotive repair industry, the Executive Order was signed. This would not have happened without the support the Coalition received from Marty Keller and Governor Wilson. Finally it was the tenacity of Chris Walker who refused to let SB2181 Die. In December of 1996 the Coalition hosted the industry summit encouraged by Marty Keller and Governor Wilson.  The challenge was to bring industry together and reach consensus on the key issues that impact our industry. Once we reached consensus on the industry issues, we began working with Chris Walker and Richard Harris at Nossaman to shape what ultimately became known as Senate Bill 2181 (SB2181) sponsored by Senator Thompson. The SB2181 was written to create an advisory board to address market defects determined by industry at the summit. We needed to address technician competency, education and shortage, industry standards and regulation, as well as consumer issues. SB2181 moved through the Senate and was on its way to the Assembly when Governor Wilson said he was opposed to creating more bureaucracy and would veto the bill. Chris Walker quickly went to work and with the aid of Marty Keller, Senators Thompson and Polanco converted SB2181 into an Executive Order. Thanks to these collective efforts the Bureau Advisory Group was formed and continues to meet and this works well for all stake holders to this day.

  • CALABC decides to select a lobbyist to represent the members and take our initiatives forward. After the success of the Summit and the work that Chris Walker did in getting the Executive Order signed by the Governor, the Coalition decided we needed to shift the focus from public relations to a lobbying effort. The Coalition sent a request for proposal to several of the lobbying firms in Sacramento and after their presentations, Nossaman was chosen to represent the Coalition and Chris Walker became our Senior Policy Advisor. 

  • CALABC has built and continues to build strong relationships with key legislators and political leaders.  Politicians and executive branch leaders have hundreds of people trying to get their attention. We cannot expect them to know our issues without our taking the time to educate them. We have done this through the use of Chris Walker and other members that work on the Coalition’s behalf.

  • CALABC forms an alliance and partnership with AMRA/MAP. The Coalition’s leadership meets with the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association/Motorist’s Assurance Program leadership and agrees to an alliance in support of one another. While AMRA/MAP is a national organization representing many of the same companies that belonged to the Coalition, CalABC was specific to California and able to quickly engage the Bureau and the legislature on key issues and concerns of the membership. CalABC agreed to work with AMRA/MAP in support of their Uniform Inspection Guidelines and encourage other members of the Coalition to support and use them.

  • CALABC provides an important forum for improved communication between industry and educators.  CalABC and its members are fully cognizant of the critical role training plays in an aftermarket.  We consistently promote the importance of career technical education and keeping viable automotive programs in the high schools and community colleges throughout the state. We continuously support legislation that sustains these programs.

  • CALABC is a key leader in working to bring Career Technical Education (CTE) back to California’s high schools.  In his State of the State address, Gov. Schwarzenegger affirmed his commitment to CALABC’s vision of a robust and thriving CTE program for all the state’s children.  Working with the building trades, agricultural interests, unions, and others, CALABC has consistently advocated that the state provide this avenue to its future workforce.

  • CALABC in a cooperative effort with our members has donated automotive equipment. We have donated over $2.1 million dollars’ worth of used automotive repair equipment to high schools and community colleges to improve their ability to teach future technicians for the industry. We appreciate the support we received from Bridgestone, Sears, Pep Boys, and Union 76 as well as several other members in making this possible.

  • CALABC in cooperation with Firestone Retail Operations hosts a Car Care Clinic on the Capitol Mall. Legislators and the Regional Occupational Center Students in Sacramento, along with the Department of Education were invited to attend a Car Care Clinic that was presented by former Race Car Driver, Pat Lazaro. Pat conducts these clinics on behalf of Firestone and took the attendees through some helpful tips on how to maintain your vehicle and basic repairs. The photo is posted at the top of this page.

  • CALABC working with the California Automotive Teachers organization determines the need to develop and update the automotive teaching curriculum. Bob Barkhouse the Executive Director makes a proposal to the Coalition to help endorse and fund the development of the teaching standards for automotive. A group of volunteers works on and develops what is now known as the ATTS Program (Automotive Technical Teaching Standards). Schools that participate in the Coalition’s sponsored ATTS Program become eligible for equipment donations, scholarships and other support from the membership. The ATTS Program is administered by George Hritz and funded by the Coalition.

  • CALABC demonstrated to the administration and the legislature the need to address the significant problems at the Bureau of Automotive Repair.  We and our allies presented enough evidence in hearings in January of 2004 that “things don’t add up” at BAR and for the first time, the Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee began taking a thorough look at BAR, they looked at how it meets its mission, and how well it works with its stakeholders.  CALABC presented testimony to the Committee at the initial hearing in January of 2004, backed up by a thorough written analysis.  CALABC documented defects in BAR’s structure that prevent it from being the premier consumer protection program that it could be, with support from its stakeholders.

  • CALABC led the drive for passage of BAR reform legislation.  SB 1542 (Figueroa), passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the legislature and signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, begins the process of reforming BAR along the lines envisioned by CALABC.  The Bureau was audited by an Administrative and Enforcement Monitor to determine which of its practices help and which hinder consumers and service providers.

  • CALABC organized the aftermarket to ensure that the Monitor gets all the information needed for a successful audit.   Strategica, the firm that won the contract to monitor BAR for the two years, needed to investigate the various ways BAR had failed to perform in order to meet the needs of today’s market.  CALABC took the leadership role and forwarded to the Monitor the necessary information for its audit.

  • CALABC in collaboration with industry members, retail groups and other business members, were successful in taking on the Trevor Law Group for the countless frivolous law suits they had filed and worked on reforming Business & Professions Code 17200. The Coalition and a number of businesses across all sectors joined together to take on the frivolous law suits that were filed by the Trevor Law Group. Working with key members from the Legislature and hosted by Senator Lou Correa (Orange County) CalABC was a driving force behind the reform efforts. Attorney, Ed Sybesma from the Rutan law firm hosted several key workshops that brought all the other attorneys together to strategize and work collaboratively on exposing the Trevor Law Group and working on the key reform initiatives for B & P Code 17200.

  • CALABC helped defeat AB 1700, which would have forced disclosure of confidential settlement documents in civil matters, especially those arising out of B & P Code 17200 charges.  This would have subjected corporations to new frivolous lawsuits by making this secret information available to trial lawyers.

  • CALABC fought for passage of Proposition 64 and defeat of Proposition 72.   Prop 64 has reformed the Unfair Competition Law, and Prop 72 would have made permanent SB 2, the health care tax.  Successful appeal to the voters on these two key initiatives helped make California more business friendly.

  • CALABC and its industry allies successfully end Los Angeles City Attorney’s efforts to create a bill that would have been know at “Scram” Stop Consumer Rip-offs by Auto Mechanics. Working together with other organizations and associations, we were able to stop the proposed bill due to the information and “education” we provided the City Attorney’s staff. While on the surface, the idea of creating a grading system similar to the restaurant industry grading system, there were too many variables that made it difficult to support. In the end, the proposal was dropped due to a collective effort by all the key stakeholders.

  • CALABC ultimately prevailed working with BAR to eliminate its Notice of Violation program.  After months of pressure although too late to help the one thousand plus shops sued by Trevor in Los Angeles County CALABC finally got BAR to understand the damage its NOV publicity was doing to innocent shops.  CALABC members and allies have facilitated a BAR pilot project that tested a new “Advisory Notice” that avoids accusations or implications of violations and educates shops as to how they can better comply with BAR regulations.

  • CALABC was instrumental in blocking passage of AB 761 (Oropeza), the “red light, green light” bill.  Our cost-benefit analysis that demonstrated how meager the return would be for the money invested convinced legislators at the bill’s very first hearing that the concept was too flawed to be permitted to go forward.  And even though the bill’s sponsor had expressed interest in reviving the bill later that year, after meeting with CALABC, officials and other aftermarket representatives, both the sponsor and author have decided to drop the entire project.

  • CALABC works with other business organizations to bring about common sense reforms in regulatory matters like lunch breaks. CALABC presented testimony on behalf of its members to the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement on its proposed regulations that would bring some flexibility for workers and employers in the matter of scheduling lunch breaks. This continues to be a major issue in California for all employers and still needs further reform.

  • CALABC was an instrumental part of the alliance to achieve reform of the workers compensation system.  We worked with the state Chamber of Commerce, the California Small Business Association, and other interests to both pressure the legislature and to collect signatures for a possible reform initiative to support the Governor’s drive for reform.  As a result, sweeping improvements to the system were finally enacted by the Legislature in mid-April.  We expect significant savings for our members and genuine improvements in the care of injured employees.

  • CALABC worked with BAR and Industry Members in order to establish Automotive Air Conditioning System Repair Standards. The Bureau along with members of the industry held a series of workshops to address the need for repair standard and invoice requirements. This matter surfaced after there were some initial problems and concerns with the advertising of A/C services and the conversion from R-12 refrigerant to R-134A. Ultimately, a standard was established and is now in the regulations for what is required to be on the service work order. This specifies what must be checked before an A/C service is performed.

  • CALABC worked with our members and other concerned industry partners on the courts’ decision regarding the Gonzalez vs. LA Downtown Motors case where Technician Flat Rate Pay Programs were challenged. CalABC worked with our members and retained John Kennedy from the Nossaman Firm to file an amicus brief with the State Supreme Court in support and defense of the Technician Flat Rate Pay Program. The collective efforts of the industry were unsuccessful in changing the Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the lower court’s decision.

  • CALABC worked with BAR and Industry Members regarding system fluid services (otherwise called “Wallet Flushing” by the Bureau). After some initial meetings with the Bureau, CalABC hosted a series of workshops with other associations, organizations, industry members, manufacturers and providers of system fluid services and chemicals. The meetings were held to verify the needs and service intervals for these services that included: Fuel Systems, Cooling Systems, Brake Fluid, Transmission Fluid, Engine Flushes and Power Steering services. Ultimately and based on the workshops, it was decided that the manufacturers and providers of the chemicals and equipment needed to meet with the Bureau to review their individual findings as to how and why these services needed to be performed by service providers. Eventually, based on further meetings with the Bureau, this issue was dropped.

  • CALABC worked with the BAR and other associations and organizations to revise the Guidelines for Disciplinary Action. We worked in unity with other groups to revise the existing Guidelines and determine a fair process for dealing with the disciplinary action that would be handed out if repair shops violated the Automotive Repair Act. These guideline workshops and public sessions have spanned over four years and are at the Department of Consumer Affairs and they anticipate adoption by the end of the year for 2015.

  • CALABC worked with BAR and Industry Members in order to establish minimum Brake System Repair Standards. We have worked collectively with the BAR and industry members to establish these standards and the final version is in review and BAR anticipates them being adopted by the end of the year for 2015.

  • CALABC worked with BAR and Industry Members in order to modify the regulations on invoices with the goal of allowing electronic estimates and final invoices for consumers. We approached BAR Chief Pat Dorais about changing the regulations to allow Automotive Repair Dealers to provide consumers the option of being given electronic copies of their repair estimates versus paper. Chief Dorais felt that it was worth setting up a series of workshops to get this accomplished. The Coalition worked collectively with BAR and industry members to establish the revised regulation and the final version is in review and BAR anticipates the changes to be adopted by the end of the year for 2015.

  • CALABC worked with ASCCA and BAR to draft a new regulation to address non-licensed activity. We are working with BAR and other industry groups to address the numerous automotive repair services that are advertised on the internet that are not licensed. Many of these are characterized as “Mobile Automotive Service Providers” that are not registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. This regulation would require anyone that offers automotive services for a fee, must be licensed with the Bureau. More information will available on our site once the revised draft is available. The goal will be to have this regulation in place by the end of 2015.

  • CALABC’s strong work on behalf of its members has created a perceptive value among industry stakeholders.  Our unique ability to unite mass merchandisers, independent shop owners, educators and training institutions, the mechanical and collision sectors, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and other key players makes CALABC an organization that delivers value to its members.

  • CALABC has reached out to aftermarket suppliers to promote awareness of the conditions their customers are fighting.  This has broadened our base of support for the kinds of activities we have undertaken on our members’ and their customers’ behalves.

The Coalition could not have achieved these accomplishments over the last twenty three years without the support of our members, partner organizations and associations all working in unity to improve the industry and the market place for consumers. 
  
Please note that any reference to CALABC also includes accomplishments that were achieved under the Coalition’s former name ARC (Automotive Repair Coalition)

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