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Report attacks Chicago’s carwash industry

CHICAGO — Workers gathered for the release of “Clean Cars, Dirty Work,” a report partially funded by the United Steelworkers.


CHICAGO — A report released here claims that there are a number of negative labor conditions and abuses in the city’s carwashes, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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The Sept. 21 story stated that the report was issued by the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and it was partially funded by United Steelworkers.

The reported, titled “Clean Cars, Dirty Work,” found that a majority of carwash workers in Chicago earn less than the state’s hourly minimum wage of $8.25 and they work more than 40 hours every week. The study also noted that most do not receive safety equipment while on the job.

Also, Arise Chicago, an interfaith workers rights group, launched a campaign to improve the work conditions for carwash workers. This organization was inspired by the workers in New York or Los Angeles that have unionized or boycotted work to fight for health and safety rights.


International Carwash Association (ICA) CEO Eric Wulf said in the story he had not read the report. He noted that ICA’s members treat their employees fairly, but he also said not all carwashes are part of the association.

He explained that work conditions vary in nearly every industry, including carwashing. “It’s like restaurants,” Wulf said in the story. “There are lots of wonderful restaurants, and then there are some you might not go to, some that might not follow every rule.”

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