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NYC’s over 5,000 Car Wash workers are fighting back

NYC’s over 5,000 Car Wash workers are fighting back.

Join them

What’s it like to work at a Car Wash in NYC? Based on interviews with 89 workers at 29 different facilities by WASH New York[1]  and an NYS Department of Labor investigation, of 28 car washes in NYC[2] , these workers are some of the most underpaid workers in the city – often working in very poor working conditions. This is the picture we get:

Long hours: Fifty-three percent of workers interviewed work between 61 and 80 hours a week with some working as many as 105 hours :1

Low pay: only 25% of those interviewed received any overtime pay. 66% of the workers interviewed had, at times, been paid below minimum wage. 1

Hazardous working conditions: Despite constant exposure to hazardous chemicals, unguarded machinery, and electrical outlets close to wet surfaces – only 23% of the workers interviewed receive any protective equipment from their employers.1 Imagine working a 12-hour shift, constantly exposed to cleaning chemicals – with no basic items such as gloves, masks or smocks.

Forget about lunch breaks: 40% of the workers interviewed get 15 minutes or less for their lunch break; 41% get no other breaks. 1 And 25% of employers failed to provide required meal breaks 2

And at the end of day, managers who steal your hard-earned tips: 39% of City Car Washes researched had managers that improperly took a portion of tips. 2

As David de la Cruz Pérez, a worker at Sutphin Boulevard Car Wash summed up, “Washing cars, the boss makes us work long hours, from 7 in the morning until 7 o’clock at night, for $5.50 an hour plus tips. They yell at us, they disrespect us, and they treat us as if we were not even human beings” 1

The treatment of our city’s car wash workers is abusive and unacceptable. It’s time for us to end such unjust practices. It’s time for workers to band together and demand respect in our work places. It is time to tell our elected officials that New York needs a raise! That’s why we are fighting for better jobs, better wages and the rights of all workers!

Join our Day of Action and support dignity and respect for ALL of NYC’s workers on July 24th.

July 24 will be the launch of a workers movement in NYC and beyond. Taking back New York for working families starts with YOU speaking out. Join us – make your voice heard.

RSPV for July 24th Workers Day of Action here


[1] WASH New York, The Dirty Business of Cleaning NYC’s Cars, http://www.washnewyork.org/releases/detail.php?id=3 (3/6/2012).

[2] New York Department of Labor, Labor Department Investigation of New York’s Car Wash Industry Uncovers Nearly $6.6 Million in Unpaid Wages, http://www.labor.ny.gov/pressreleases/2008/August15_2008.htm (8/15/2008).

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