I am a former ASE master technician. Starting as an apprentice mechanic in 1978, I always worked flat rate, averaging about $45,000 a year.
I could have made a lot more if I had been willing to do things against my ethics. I leaned on my tool bench while work was held for favored mechanics. I was around mechanics who were on drugs to work fast. Management told me to mind my own business.
Customers were charged for full brake jobs, but only pads were replaced. Alignments that cost $125 were never put on the rack. One mechanic charged for parts but rarely replaced them if he could get away with it.
Management was paid off the commission of the shop. The faster and lower paid a mechanic was, the more money managers made, and that is all they cared about.
I could not handle it any more and quit. If I had it to do all over again, I wish I had gone into aviation.
ROBERT GOODE, Shreveport, La.
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