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Source: DNAinfo
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Queens Car Washers Sue Employer For Wage Theft

QUEENS — A group of car washers is accusing its Jamaica employer of paying less than the minimum wage and cheating workers out of overtime.

The workers, who filed a lawsuit against A.J.A. Car Wash at 107-05 Merrick Blvd. in Brooklyn Federal Court Wednesday, said they are seeking back wages which they estimate add up to $400,000.

“I generally worked six days a week for over 70 hours a week but the boss doesn’t pay us any overtime,” said Miguel Yax, 34, who has worked at A.J.A. Car Wash for more than 15 years.

According to the lawsuit, Yax, who in 2009 was making $4.75 an hour, currently gets $7 an hour.

Other workers, the lawsuit claims, are paid $6 an hour.

The lawsuit also says that the car wash sends workers home without pay on rainy days and does not divide tips equally among the employees.

“It’s hard for me to pay rent and support my family,” said Andres Pu, 52, a father of three who has worked at the car wash for more than 10 years.

“Wage theft continues at epidemic proportions in the car wash industry in New York City,” said Elizabeth Joynes, an employment attorney for Make the Road New York who represents the group.

She said car wash employees “who work long shifts day in and day out through the coldest days of winter and hottest days of summer” are among the lowest paid workers in the city.

Representatives for the car wash were not immediately available for comment.

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