August 20, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Four car washes – two of which are owned by two of the largest car wash owners in the city — have signed contracts with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
Workers at the Webster Car Wash and WCA Car Wash in the Bronx, owned by reputed car wash kingpin John Lage, and the Jomar Car Wash and Sutphin Car Wash in Queens, owned by Fernando Magalhaes have ratified a three-year contract similar to two other union carwashes ratified within the last few months. Lage is an industry leader and reportedly owns more than 20 car washes in New York City and partners with Magalhaes in some of them.
"These cashwasheros stood up and demanded dignity and respect on the job. And now they have achieved a first contract that will improve wages and benefits,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “This contract sends a powerful message to all low wage workers throughout New York City: You can fight back against poor wages and working conditions, and you can win.”
The signings cement another major victory for the RWDSU. The Retail Workers campaign has already scored several important victories. They have won seven National Labor Relations Board conducted elections to unionize car washes throughout New York City. The union has won a successful strike at the Sunny Day Car Wash in the Bronx, saving the jobs of workers at the Soho Car Wash, securing union contracts at Hi-Tek and Sunny Day Car Washes and improving workplace safety conditions at car washes across the city.