New York, NY – Today, the New York City Council Civil Service and Labor Committee held a hearing on the mistreatment of car wash workers, two days after Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito introduced the Car Wash Accountability Act to require licensing for New York City car washes. The bill, which would protect consumers, workers, and our environment, was created in response to problems found by Make the Road, New York Communities for Change, and the Retail, Department Store, Wholesalers Union’s WASH New York campaign.
Consumers would be able to file complaints about car washes and car washes would need to carry liability insurance to cover damage to cars. This would protect workers by verifying that they are paid the wages they are owed and are covered by disability and unemployment insurance. Car washes would need to demonstrate they comply with the Clean Water Act and have the appropriate permits to ensure they are not contaminating our water supply with dangerous chemicals.
“Today, fellow Council Members, community organizations and I joined together to say no to the exploitation of car wash workers in New York City,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Today’s hearing is timely in light of yesterday’s May Day marches where tens of thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets to stand up for worker’s rights. We simply cannot tolerate the exploitation of low-wage workers in our city. Paying below minimum wage, not paying overtime, stealing tips and flouting occupational safety laws are the norms in the car wash industry and this must be stopped. The legislation I have introduced would require that car washes be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, ensuring that workers are protected from harm and ensuring that consumers receive a car wash at a standard they can count on.”