En EspaƱol Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Suit: Car wash workers got hosed

A BROOKLYN car wash got served by its workers Wednesday.

Seventeen current and former washers at Hi-Tek Car Wash in Brighton Beach filed a federal lawsuit against the company, saying they were stiffed on overtime and didn’t get minimum wage.

The legal move, which follows a similar suit at a different car wash in the Bronx, is the latest step in a citywide campaign to clean up the industry amid a unionization drive.

The employees’ lawsuit claims they earned less than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour with tips factored in.

Workers also said they often toiled for more than 40 hours a week without getting overtime — and that managers withheld tips to pay for damage to vehicles.

Aaron Morales Romero, 23, said he worked at Hi-Tek for five years but left this March because he couldn’t make ends meet earning $5.25 an hour with little tips.

“The work is good, but what isn’t good is the salary and the mistreatment,” said Morales. “Sometimes they would call us on our days off, and not give us overtime . . . the way my co-workers are still working is a disaster.”

A Hi-Tek manager said the claims were untrue.

“They [campaign organizers] are brainwashing employees to take their side. That they are not paid properly is not true,” said Gary Pinkus.

The immigrant employees filed suit with help from WASH New York, a campaign run by nonprofits Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change and backed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

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