Employees at Webster Car Wash in Morrisania voted 23-5 Saturday to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The Webster Ave. wash is the second in the city to unionize.
Workers at a Bronx car wash voted this weekend to become the second such business in the city to unionize, citing low wages and harsh job conditions.
Employees at Webster Car Wash in Morrisania voted 23-5 Saturday afternoon to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a spokesperson for the union said.
“The bosses will respect us better now, and see us as people,” said worker Francisco Lopez, 37.
The Salvadoran immigrant, who has been working at Webster Car Wash for a year, said he makes $6 an hour and doesn’t always earn enough in tips to take home minimum wage.
The vote comes as state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the Webster Ave. shop — one of 10 owned by city car wash kingpin John Lage that is being looked at for potential wage-and-hour violations.
Union President Stuart Appelbaum called Saturday’s vote “like David slaying Goliath.”
Lage did not immediately return a call for comment. The owner’s son and business associate Michael Lage told the News in April organizers were trying to “siphon off a portion of our employees’ hard-earned pay through compulsory union dues.”
Employees at Hi-Tek Car Wash & Lube Inc. in Elmhurst, Queens, became the first in the city to unionize last month.
The union votes follow protests and rallies to improve industry conditions by non-profits New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York. The groups surveyed workers at nearly 200 city washes and found two-thirds said they were often paid less than minimum wage. Workers also reported being sent home early if business is slow.
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