Roughly 50 Machens detailers to transition to new company

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COLUMBIA — An estimated 50 Joe Machens detailers will have the option to transition to a new company, they were informed on Monday.

There is confusion amongst the detailers in Columbia as to whether or not this means they will have a job past a two-week trial period with the new company. The trial period begins Nov. 1.

Multiple employees reached out to KOMU and said they were laid off Monday morning and placed the number of layoffs company-wide at around 120. However, Joe Machens Marketing Director Michele Cropp said that "just isn't true."

Cropp said roughly 50 detailers were informed they could opt into the trial period with a new company that has partnered with Joe Machens. She did not know whether or not the new company could choose to keep the employees after those two weeks. 

Timothy Gross, a Machens Automotive Group detailer informed about the opt-in Monday, said his understanding was that the new company could make a hiring decision after the two weeks. 

"They told us starting on November 1, we could do this two-week trial with the new company. But that seems like sort of a bad deal, because we have no idea if they're going to keep us after the two weeks or not," Gross said. 

Another employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the detailers are required to work until November 1, the day they would start with the new company, in order to ensure receiving benefits. 

"I came in today to collect benefits, and they told me I have to work until next Tuesday to collect any," he said. 

Cropp emphasized that this is not a mass layoff. She said other than normal hiring and firing at the company, nobody aside from detailers has been let go. But even the detailers have been offered an opportunity with the new company. She said she believes the rumors about layoffs being roughly 120 people originated with a couple of disgruntled employees who were unhappy about the change.

Cropp did not have the name of the new company readily available, but said it is not part of the McLarty group, which owns Joe Machens dealerships in Columbia.

[Editors note: This story has been updated for clarity.]