Car wash workers’ fight
Workers at a Park Slope car wash have been out on the picket line since Thanksgiving week.
“These are workers who are paid a sub-minimum wage, and even then their wages are stolen, their tips are taken away, and they receive no protective gear – not even a lousy pair of gloves to deal with hazardous chemicals,” said Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum.
In October, eight workers at Vegas Auto Spa, on 19th St. and 7th Ave. in Brooklyn, filed suit against their boss, Marat “Matt” Leshehinsky for more than $600,000 in wage violations, including paying less than the minimum wage and not paying overtime for 90-hour work weeks. As retaliation, the owner cut hours, locked out workers who were organizing and refused to recognize workers’ right to form a union.
“Our community values social justice, and we’ve been willing to stand up for workers across the country,” said NYC Councilmember Brad Lander, whose district includes Park Slope. “Now the fight has been brought to our own backyard, and these workers have turned to us in their time of need.”
(To support workers in this campaign, join them on the picket line or donate to the workers’ strike fund.)
Zara workers’ victory
Zara, the clothing retailer, said it will increase the pay of its New York City employees to at least $12 an hour after a petition drive, the Change Zara campaign, was organized by workers. The company had already announced it would end “on-call” shifts, another of the workers’ demands. This practice had required workers to be available, but with no confirmation they would actually work that shift and get paid until an hour or two before the shift began.