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Business Operations

Call for regulation at NYC carwashes

May 27, 2014
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NEW YORK — The 150 carwashes in NYC are facing a bill that would highly regulate their business, according to Crain’s New York Business

Make the Road New York, a nonprofit group that was largely responsible for writing the bill, which previously won mandated paid sick leave for many city businesses, now has its eyes set on the carwash industry.

The proposed legislation, notes the article, would mean washes with 20 or more workers would need to pay a $300,000 surety bond for each location. California has a similar surety bond regulation already in place. Owners would also be subject to character measuring regulations, which the article notes are usually restricted to industries with mob ties.

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Carwash owners, the story notes, see the city council bill as a way to force unionization. There is criticism for Make the Road because of the group’s numerous government contracts. "It's an absolute hijacking of taxpayer dollars when they're connected to these kinds of politics," said Richard Berman, the executive director of the Center for Union Facts, which is backed by businesses.

While owners acknowledge that they have not always complied with regulations, the article notes, they do not think increased regulation should punish the entire industry.

Make the Road, in its 2012 annual report, described itself as a “robust multiservice powerhouse” that helps immigrant voters, according to the article. The group has strong support from politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, recent attendees at Make the Road events.  

Steve Rotlevi is the president of the Association of Car Wash Owners, which formed two years ago to combat what they felt was overly strict regulation. "We are a mosquito facing an 800-pound gorilla ... it just feels like we're getting stomped on."

Melissa Mark-Viverito, the sponsor of the legislation, recently met with owners about their concerns, and a hearing is planned for June, notes the article.

To read the full story, click here