Los Angeles became home to the only unionized car wash in the country when workers with the Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) announced a union contract with Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, according to a press release from CLEAN on October 25, 2011. Workers at Marina Car Wash in Venice, which is owned by the same company but was closed last December, also won recognition of the union and a contract, according to the release. The owners have committed to working to reopen the well-known car wash.
Workers at Bonus will become members of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, (United Steelworkers). According to the release, the contract includes a wage increase, health and safety protections, grievance and arbitration procedures and protections for workers if the car wash is sold. After seeking unionization since 2008, the agreement also establishes rights that protect workers from being unfairly punished or dismissed, among other things.
CLEAN’s campaign began to expose conditions and build community pressure for improvements, as the release noted car wash workers are often exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals without adequate protective gear and frequently work for extended periods under the sun without rest or shade. Furthermore, CLEAN notes it is common for workers to be paid a daily rate that is far less than minimum wage, and many workers work for tips only.
Do you feel that you have been a victim of employment discrimination? Do you have questions about how to prove discrimination? Not every group of workers is able to unionize, but California law prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, sex and sexual orientation. If you think that your employer has engaged in any of these forms of discrimination, contact our Los Angeles employment attorney today to set up a private consultation.
Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment lawyer