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Labor & Economy

Car Washers Polish Their Success




Workers at recently unionized Highland Car Wash

Los Angeles County’s car wash workers seemed to face overwhelming odds when they began to organize a few years back. Carwasheros considered themselves lucky if their bosses simply paid them for the correct number of hours they had worked, let alone if they received the legal minimum wage – some were expected to work for only tips. Many car wash employees were undocumented immigrants in an industry known for its high turnover and were counted as among society’s most vulnerable workers.

And yet, with the help of the United Steel Workers union’s CLEAN Car Wash Campaign, car washers began to prevail in a series of court battles that resulted in owners being ordered to improve working conditions and to conduct their accounting practices above-board. In 2012 the state’s Department of Industrial Relations assessed more than $4.8 million in wages and civil penalties against California car wash owners, and an updated car wash worker law that went into effect at the start of 2014 has made it easier for workers to organize within this industry. There has been a modest but unmistakable expansion of union car washes since Bonus Car Wash workers first organized in 2011. Much more has to be done in a county built around the automobile and so packed with car washes, but the list below (click here for interactive map) shows that it’s getting a little easier to find a place to get your car washed by workers whose labor is justly rewarded.


Highland Park

Highland Car Wash
5128 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles 90042[/box]

South Los Angeles

Blue Magic Car Wash
1823 E. Vernon Ave., Los Angeles 90058

Bryan’s Car Wash
1901 W. Vernon Ave., Los Angeles, 90062

Finish Line Car Wash
112 W. Imperial Hwy. Los Angeles 90061

Fly Car Wash
1724 W. Florence Ave., Los Angeles 90044

Los Angeles Hand Carwash
7303 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles 90001

Magic Clean Car Wash
1923 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles 90047

Montes Car Wash
11919 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles 90059

Morales Car Wash
10964 S. Main St., Los Angeles 90061

Primos Car Wash
13427 Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles 90061

Santa Fe Car Wash
7417 Santa Fe Ave., Huntington Park 90255

Stephanie’s Car Wash
7300 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles 90003

Supreme Car Wash
8913 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, 90003

Vermont Car Wash
6219 S. Vermont Ave. (at Gage), Los Angeles 90044[/box]


Car Brite Hand Wash
405 E. Rosecrans Ave., Gardena 90248

Figueroa Car Wash
490 W. Rosecrans Ave., Gardena 90248[/box]

Santa Monica

Bonus Car Wash
2800 Lincoln Blvd. (at Ashland), Santa Monica 90405[/box]


High Performance Auto Detail
201 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena 91101[/box]


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