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      06-10-2008, 12:44 AM   #23
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Workers go on strike at BMW dealership
Union employees say new owner's proposals would ruin their reputations, benefits

by Daniel DeBolt
Mountain View Voice Staff

Mechanics and service writers at BMW of Mountain View went on strike this week, saying their reputation for doing high-quality work at "the last honest BMW dealer in the Bay Area" was on the line.

Dozens of workers picketed the dealership at El Camino Real and Grant Road on Monday, carrying signs discouraging customers from shopping there. Drivers passed by honking their horns in support.

The dealership's new corporate owner, Florida-based Auto Nation, wants mechanics and service writers to be paid on commission instead of their current salaries. As a result, "My paycheck is going to depend on what I sell," said service writer Rudy Gomez. "That's what gives dealers a bad reputation."

The company also wants employees to foot higher bills for dental, vision and health care, "a complete gutting of what we have now," said employee Rolf Kuchlenz.

"Most of us have families," Gomez said. "We can't come up with that out of our own pockets."

With the worker's AFL-CIO union contract due to expire May 31, negotiations broke down several weeks ago. The employees began picketing Monday.

Though workers said they were negotiating directly with local officials, dealership manager Brian Nelson said he couldn't comment on the issue, and directed all questions to Auto Nation in Florida. Representatives there were not immediately available for comment.

Workers say that, under the proposed business practices, service writers could be rewarded for selling customers on unnecessary work, while mechanics could be rewarded for rushing a job.

"They would pay us for how fast we do it," one worker said. "That's not a very good way to get your car fixed."

Workers on the picket line said the dealership has the best reputation for BMW service in Silicon Valley, often serving customers referred to them by other dealers. With 45 mechanics, the dealership is one of the busiest.

Auto Nation, a Fortune 500 company started by the founder of Blockbuster Video, purchased the company while it was still known as Allison BMW and the only unionized BMW dealer in the Bay Area. Since then, the company tripled the number of mechanics and added work space for them in a new, multi-story building. A Mini dealer opened up next door as well, which also has workers on strike (Mini is a product of BMW).

A longtime mechanic named Larry who ran the Mini service garage during the expansion said he believes the new owners are not showing gratitude for their hard work.

"We built all this for them," Larry said. "Instead of rewarding us, they punish us."

Employee Mike Romano said the cards were stacked against them, calling the standoff "worse than David and Goliath."

"They've got 300 dealers, and we are just 66 people," he said.
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      06-10-2008, 01:24 AM   #24
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i've concluded that a lot of times how good sales and service is really depends on who you deal with. i service my car at mt view since i got my car there and it's working out fine. when i was shopping for my car, my CA worked with me to find the car i really wanted (did a dealer trade while the car was still on the boat).

that said, i've had bad experiences at peter pan bmw, fremont bmw, and stevens creek bmw.

i'm not going to shut them out except for stevens creek. i will not patronage stevens creek. when i was shopping for my car they were playing games and also wanted to charge me an extra $1k fee to do a dealer trade with an in-network dealer. i've also had several bad experiences with their parts department. when my dad was shopping for his car, he also had a bad experience with stevens creek.

anyway, if any of you need a CA or SA referral at bmw mt view, please feel free to PM me.
who was ur SA? i had michael borbet... pretty cool guy.
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      08-06-2008, 02:50 PM   #25
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who was ur SA? i had michael borbet... pretty cool guy.
my CA was tony leyva. he's one of the internet sales managers there.
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      08-06-2008, 02:51 PM   #26
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so, is this strike still going on?
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      08-06-2008, 03:56 PM   #27
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so, is this strike still going on?
Only way to find out is to call and ask. I asked a co-worker who drives past there every day and he said he didn't notice anything. Take that for what it's worth.
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      08-15-2008, 02:21 PM   #28
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just called to set up an appt.
strike is over. settlement has been reached.
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      08-27-2008, 01:56 AM   #29
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My car was all fucked up during this time. I ended up going to Stevens Creek BMW. They got an amazing service department there, and the pimpest loaner cars.

I had a Z4 vert 3.0si and it was so PIMP.

I am loyal to Mt. View but after the strike I might make the move to Stevens Creek.
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      09-11-2008, 04:33 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Kadarin View Post
I was at BMW of Mountain View today, and the reason why you couldn't make an appointment is because their mechanics are on strike.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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      11-03-2008, 03:16 PM   #31
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strike has been over. i got my e90 serviced there recently with zero issues.
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      11-14-2008, 01:21 PM   #32
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I just took my car into service at mountain view. I had a couple of issues with them:

1. When I called, they wouldn't reserve a car for me without knowing what needed to be done on the car. They said I might not even need one. So, I told them what the car was saying needed service. They still didn't budge. When I came in, guess what, they gave me a car, but it was the last car that enterprise had, a minivan that was in pretty terrible shape. At Fremont (same owner), they've put my name down with no questions asked. As I see it, if I need it, I need it, if I don't, then there's one more BMW for someone to use.
2. My SA did NOT call me telling me that my car was finished. I had to call him (voicemail the first time, then had someone track him down the second call) @ ~5:30pm, which he then said it'd be easier to pick it up tomorrow morning. I think he just wanted to go home.

I tried mountain view because of convenience. Next time, I'm going to drive over to Fremont even though it's 20 miles away, now.
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      11-14-2008, 01:54 PM   #33
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      01-28-2009, 09:28 PM   #34
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Anyone got a recommendation for a SA to ask for? I'm thinking about swinging by and getting some work done. Thanks.
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