June 17, 2013
By Stephanie West
JAMAICA, NY — Workers at the Sutphin Car Wash in Jamaica joined with community leaders on Saturday to demand that Sutphin owners Fernando Magalhaes and John Lage negotiate a fair union contract. The action comes on the heels of recent contract victories at Sunny Day Car Wash in the Bronx and Hi-Tek Car Wash & Lube in Queens through the WASH New York campaign, a joint effort between Make the Road New York (MRNY) and New York Communities for Change (NYCC), and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
Last November, Sutphin Car Wash workers won a union election and joined the RWDSU. They are in the process of negotiating a contract but the owner, Fernando Magalhaes, has not shown much willingness to negotiate a fair contract. Magalhaes and his associate, John Lage, together own the biggest chain of car washes in NYC and continue their anti-union campaign although negotiations are taking place.
David de la Cruz, a worker at Sutphin for more than 7 years, said: "We're holding this protest today because Fernando [Magalhaes] is playing games with us. The workers at Sutphin Car Wash won a union election and now we want him to sign a fair contract. Maybe he doesn't understand that we're united and we're not going to give up until we have a fair contract, because that's the only way for us to make sure that we have justice on the job and the basic rights we deserve."
“The old way of doing business at these establishments are over. Car wash workers across the city have had enough and are fighting back against abusive conditions,” RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said. “Sutphin workers are asking for basic respect and dignity on the job, and the will continue to support them – whether it be at the negotiation table or the picket line — as they stand up for a better future for their families.”