In January 2014, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, responding to the introduction of the latest “Fast Track” legislation, said, “It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade.”

On the issue of trade, investment and global economic rules, America’s workers—and our brothers and sisters overseas—certainly are on a hamster wheel.

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By Jenna Chandler, May 21, 2012

Santa Monica Car Wash and Detailing and Millennium Car Wash in Venice accused of violating California's labor laws.

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By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2012

Workers allege that overtime pay was withheld and breaks were denied at carwashes in Venice, Santa Monica and Lakewood.

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Patronize these union carwashes and show the workers that you support their fight!

Los Angeles—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su today filed two separate lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court against three Los Angeles carwash businesses for violations including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees. The complaints seek unpaid wages, penalties and damages totaling in excess of $2,047,464.


by Sahra Sulaiman

Unionization at two carwashes represents victory for a handful of workers, but underscores how much more remains to be done to protect workers.


Two South Los Angeles car washes have become the second and third union car washes in the nation, announced the CLEAN Carwash Campaign at Vermont Car Wash on Tuesday afternoon.

Los Ángeles, 21 Feb (Notimex).- Como un triunfo por mejoras salariales y prestaciones para lavacoches, fue calificado aquí el nuevo contrato laboral que beneficiará a decenas de estos trabajadores en Los Ángeles. Read more >>>

POR: Isaías Alvarado / isaias.alvarado@laopinion.com | 09:42 pm | 02/20/2012 | La Opinión

Hoy se firmarán los contratos colectivos en dos centros de lavado en Los Ángeles.

En español


The CLEAN Carwash Campaign

CLEAN stands for Community-Labor-Environmental Action Network.  We are a diverse coalition of nonprofit organizations committed to improving the lives of working families in greater Los Angeles.  Carwash workers are some of the hardest working and most exploited workers in our city, often working for less than minimum wage and without basic protections required by the law.  The CLEAN Carwash Campaign is a joint effort of CLEAN and the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee (CWOC) of the United Steelworkers to raise carwash workers' standard of living, to secure basic workplace protections and to address the serious environmental and safety hazards in the Los Angeles carwash industry.


Together the CLEAN carwash campaign coalition will work to support carwash workers who are standing up for their rights, to improve health and safety protections for the 7,000-10,000 carwash workers in the greater Los Angeles area, and to help to keep our water and environment clean for LA communities.


CLEAN is committed to:

  • Supporting the right of carwash workers to organize a union and bargain collectively.
  • Improving working conditions and ensuring that carwash employers meet labor standards and abide by fair workplace practices.
  • Demanding environmental clean up to ensure that wastewater from carwashes does not contaminate our rivers or oceans.



What are Conditions Like for Carwash Workers?


Carwashes routinely violate basic employment laws like those requiring workers be permitted to take rest breaks or have access to shade and clean drinking water.

  • Workers frequently work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, often with no overtime pay.
  • Workers are often paid less than the legal minimum wage, sometimes earning as little as $30-$40 per day ($3-$4/ hour) or working for tips alone.
  • Carwash workers are subject to health and safety hazards such as constant exposure to water and to dangerous chemicals without protective gear.
  • Workers in the industry have reported kidney damage, respiratory problems and nerve damage due to their exposure to these hazards.



How Do Carwashes Impact Our Community?


There has been very little oversight of carwashes by enforcement agencies historically, which has allowed carwash owners to disregard employment and environmental laws.



The Environment


According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, professional carwashes can have a negative impact on the environment if not properly managed.  Contaminants in carwash water, which may contain highly toxic chemicals such as ammonium bifluoride and hydrofluoric acid, can cause a variety of health effects, including kidney damage, increased cancer risk, and developmental delays.

It is clear that too many Los Angeles carwash owners disregard their legal and ethical responsibilities to protect our environment.

The Department of Public Works has issued numerous citations to LA carwashes for violating environmental regulations, and carwash workers report that wastewater runoff routinely leaks into storm drains.  These carwash owners are endangering our local rivers, oceans, and groundwater.

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