Carwasheros Win Contract
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Following a four month strike, the “carwasheros” of Brooklyn, NY, have secured a contract.
Workers at 10 car wash companies have voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) since the Wash New York Campaign began three years ago. The campaign is a joint effort by New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and the inion.
On April 2, the carwasheros of Vegas Auto Spa won a two-year contract agreement, including two wage increases, paid time off, overtime, a grievance procedure and protection for immigrant workers. It is the strongest contract won in the industry, with higher wages and a $1,500 per person signing bonus.
In March, workers and supporters held a protest to call attention to the plight of the employees. Several labor leaders and elected officials were arrested.
In November, eight carwasheros sued the owner of Vegas Auto Spa, Marat Leshchinsky, for $600,000 in unpaid wages and damages. They also filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Forcing workers to struggle through the holiday season and harsh winter without any pay, Leshchinsky finally agreed to settle.
The carwasheros returned to work on April 6.