CLUE-LA and CLEAN Carwash Campaign commemorated the Day of the Dead/ El Dia de los Muertos with a spiritual representation of the struggle of Carwash Workers everywhere. This altar was set up at the Autry Museum on the weekend of Oct. 29th. The yellow poster board tells 3 accounts of the specific sufferings that are common to Carwash workers throughout the industry. The intent was not to tell a specific story of a specific Carwash worker but to broadly describe the difficulties that Carwasheros endure to be able to provide for their families. As a Day of the Dead altar typically honors one’s deceased loved ones, this altar artistically draws attention to the deadly and life limiting effects that working at a Carwash can have on one’s body. These effects can be life changing and in themselves can be seen as death to one’s body.
At the front of the altar, on the ground we see that these sufferings have not been in vain. Leaders have arisen who are committed to giving a voice to the long silenced voices of Carwash workers. The individuals whose pictures are propped up on multicolored poster board in the foreground of the altar are previous carwash workers who have been fired from their jobs. These Carwasheros were fired for demanding change to the unjust labor practices of their employers. It is because of the work of these Brigadistas and their Organizers that new life has arisen in the form of our very first carwash contract. In this altar we remember the sufferings of carwash workers everywhere and we also call for change. We call on the community to stand in solidarity with Carwasheros everywhere to thank the owners of the only syndicated carwash in the country. We also invide the community to ask other washes to re-examine their labor practices so that justice is realized by Carwasheros everywhere.
In the words of a Bonus Carwash worker:
We will not stop fighting until Carwasheros everywhere have fair contracts and their suffering ceases. May it be so!