Bronx Car Wash Workers Strike!
November 13, 2012
By Joe Maniscalco
Workers at the Sunny Day Car Wash, located at 169 Lincoln Avenue in the Bronx, threw down their squeegees and buckets on Monday, November 13 and went on strike after a one-day walkout to protest unpaid wages got them all canned.
"This is an incredible demonstration of workers' belief that they can change this industry thru collective action," Make the Road New York Co-Executive Director Deborah Axt told LaborPress. "And they are right. Make the road New York, New York communities for change and the RWDSU are privileged to stand with them in their fight."
Business at Sunny Day Car Wash has effectively come to a standstill due to the job action and inclement weather as members of WASH New York, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, joined more than a dozen fired workers on a picket line outside the Bronx establishment.
WASH New York is a coalition between grassroots community groups and organized labor fighting for fair and equitable job practices in New York's notoriously oppressive car wash industry.
A recent WASH New York study found that many car wash workers are not being paid overtime, and that when they are paid beyond the standard 40-hour work week, it's less than the legally mandated rate of time-and-a-half. Others participating in the survey said they were being paid less than the state's minimum wage of $7.25 and hour.
The recently axed workers at Sunny Day Car Wash say that they haven't been properly paid for three weeks and they want their jobs back.
Last month, workers at another Bronx car wash on Webster Avenue in the Bronx became only the second group of car wash employees in New York behind Hi Tek Car Wash in Astoria Queens to organize with the RWDSU.
While they have yet to pull the trigger on organizing, an overwhelming of workers at Sunny Day Car Wash have reportedly signed unionization authorization cards.
"Car wash workers across the city are standing up and fighting back against abusive conditions," RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum says. "They deserve better and they know that the only way things are going to get better is by becoming part of a strong union."
This is the first strike in WASH New York's nine-month-old campaign against unfair labor practices.