Instead of hours or pay, he gave them an obscene gesture.
Workers who walked off the job at Off Broadway Car Wash for the third time in as many months Thursday morning were treated to an offensive display by the business’s owner.
A video provided by the workers’ union shows David Amar kicking snow at the “carwasheros,” who responded with sarcastic catcalls. The angry car wash owner then noticed the union workers filming him in front of his Elmhurst operation and simulated masturbation in their direction.
“[Amar] has been very confrontational,” said David Jimenez, an organizer with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. But, he added, “This is the first time that he really went out of the way to make lewd gestures.”
The workers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 14 alleging Amar has stopped paying the workers regularly and cut their hours. Thursday’s demonstration marked the third time the workers have walked out since voting to form a union last November.
Amar boosted the workers’ pay to $6.25 per hour and later agreed to sit down for collective bargaining after the second walkout. But the union says he’s been a no-show at the contract negotiations since their first meeting.
The owner rolled down locked window gates at the idled business Thursday and couldn’t be located for an interview.
His lawyer, Stephen Hans, declined to discuss the rude gestures, but he blamed the workers for shutting down the business for the day. “I don’t understand why you would force us to close when you want a contract,” Hans said.
“Why would you say to the workers, ‘we’re not going to allow you to make any money today?’” Hans added.
But the fired-up workers showed no remorse as they listened to supportive speeches by elected officials and chanted “Si se puede” — “Yes we can” — around an inflatable rat with 30 other car wash workers, union organizers and activists with Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change.
To view the original video, click here.