NEW YORK — New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is announcing on Thursday that John Lage, a carwash owner, has agreed to pay $3.9 million in labor violations, according to the New York Daily News.

Ernesto Salazar, an employee of Lage since 2001, is happy with the decision. “It’s a huge thing to me to know that justice is being done,” he said. “We’ve advanced the industry.”

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Schneiderman was direct with his comments towards washes that don’t play by the rules. “These agreements require carwashes clean up their acts to comply with the law. And they ensure that the New York businesses, those who play by the rules, can do so on a level playing field,” he said.

The charges against Lage, and other wash owners, is that they did not pay employees overtime, and would also take off time for breaks that employees never received. Lage’s business records were examined from 2006 to 2012.

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A great portion of the money, $2.2 million, will go to around 1,000 immigrant wash workers, known as the “carwasheros.”

Someone close to Lage said the violations occurred at washes he was only part owner of, and that he now follows all labor laws.

Salazar said that conditions greatly improved after the investigation began in 2012.

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In 2009, Lage was also sued, and had to pay $3.4 million in back pay and damages.

Lage’s attorney did not have comment for the Daily News on Wednesday.

Things have improved for workers like Salazar in recent years. He now makes $8 an hour, before tips. "We are poor, but we have rights in this country too,” he said.  

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