Southern California Carwash Workers Win First-Ever Contracts

There’s good news from the struggle for justice for Southern California carwash workers — carwasheros. In a groundbreaking agreement, carwash workers at Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica have reached a first-ever contract. The workers voted to join United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675 this summer.

Also, workers at Marina Car Wash in Venice, owned by the same company but closed, won union recognition and a contract, and the owners have committed to work to reopen the facility. In addition, workers at three other carwashes have won a union voice.

Oliverio Gomez, who has worked at Bonus Car Wash for nine years, says:

The contract includes a wage increase, health and safety protections, grievance and arbitration procedures and protections for workers if the carwash is sold. The agreement also establishes rights that protect workers from being unfairly punished or dismissed, among other things.

The workers came together in the CLEAN Carwash Campaign to fight for their rights. The CLEAN Carwash Campaign is a coalition supported by the USW, the AFL-CIO and more than 100 community, faith and labor organizations in Los Angeles. For more information, click here.

Chloe Osmer, acting director of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, calls the contracts,“an absolutely historic tide change for the carwash industry.”

After years of efforts by courageous carwash workers and our community partners, we’ve secured an agreement that marks the beginning of a cleaner carwash industry.

Mike Watson, general manager of Bonus Car Wash, says, “We are looking forward to a partnership with the United Steelworkers that will make our business stronger and improve the opportunities and job satisfaction for all of our employees.”

There are thousands of carwash workers who face deplorable working conditions every day: violations of health and safety laws, wage and hour laws, and anti-discrimination laws. Most of these workers are immigrants who all of them are without the power to fight back against the horrible conditions in which they work.

Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, says Los Angeles is the epicenter of the carwash industry and “the epicenter of innovative organizing, particularly by immigrant workers.”

LA labor congratulates carwash workers for standing up and demanding decent wages and safe conditions. We will make sure that hundreds of thousands of families in LA County know where to get their cars washed.