Bronx car wash workers decide to strike
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 6/20/2013, 12:08 p.m.
On Sunday, over a dozen car wash workers didn't report to their place of business. On Monday, their employers told them they were out of jobs. Workers were told that they would get one week of pay if they signed a letter of resignation. On Tuesday, they hit the picket lines.
WASH New York, a joint campaign between Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change with support by the RWDSU, has joined the workers in this fight. Workers at Sunny Day Car Wash at 169 Lincoln Ave., near the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, have had enough and want to unionize and fight for their rights as workers. This is the first strike launched in the nine-month history of WASH New York. With over 200 car washes in the city and about 5,000 low-wage employees, employees are aggressively pursuing an end to what they feel is illegal exploitation by their employers.
Protesters picketed with signs and recited chants in Spanish like ""Carwasheros united will never be defeated!"
Almost all of the employees who have decided to participate in the work stoppage are immigrants. They're asking for past wages, the right to organize and their jobs back. As of right now, 22 workers from Sunny Day have signed up for the union. According to WASH New York, it's the third group of car wash workers to make that attempt this year.
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum praised the workers for standing up for themselves.
"Car wash workers across the city are standing up and fighting back against abusive conditions," Appelbaum said. "They deserve better, and they know that the only way things are going to get better is by becoming part of a strong union."
Make the Road New York Co-Executive Deborah Axt echoed similar sentiments.
"The workers in this industry have had enough of wage theft and abuse," said Axt. "These folks decided to make an incredible sacrifice because they cannot abide the ongoing mistreatment that has become standard practice in this industry. Enough is enough. Make the Road, New York Communities for Change and the RWDSU feel privileged to stand with them in this fight."