LOS ANGELES — Carwash workers are organizing to fight for better pay and working conditions, and they want to join a union, according to the Orange County Register.
One of these carwasheros, Jose Rolando Cuestas, a 34-year-old Honduran immigrant says he was paid $35 a day for washing cars from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. for 10 years. He was fired for complaining, said the article.
Cuestas said in the article that carwasheros must unite, or they will be mistreated.
United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO are helping the group to organize and join a union. “Nearly 200 workers at 23 Southern California carwashes have signed collective bargaining agreements with their bosses,” stated the article.
In the article, UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education lawyer Victor Narro said workers are often denied breaks, including for lunch, and some are exposed to dangerous chemicals without protective equipment.
The carwash industry in California has been plagued with workplace violations. Inspectors have issued 1,423 citations for such violations over the past five years, reported the article.
“We want those operating outside law to be busted,” said Western Car Wash Association Executive Director Ross Hutchings, in the article. “If someone is not paying minimum wage and worker’s comp, it creates an unfair environment for legitimate businesses.”
Many owners have learned that the cost of unionizing workers is less than paying the state’s expensive carwash bond, which unionized carwashes are exempt from.
“Now my customers know they are coming to a place where employees get a fair wage,” owner Adolfo Gomez said in the article, whose carwash is unionized.
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