LOS ANGELES AND SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
CLUE, in partnership with the CLEAN Carwash Campaign (Community-Labor-Environmental Action Network), strives to help bring about industry-wide change for carwash workers. Carwashes have experienced very little oversight from enforcement agencies until recently, which has historically allowed carwash owners to disregard labor and environmental laws.Working conditions for the 7,000-10,000 carwash workers or “carwasheros” are extremely exploitative and have caused some to label work in this industry as “modern-day slave labor.” Carwasheros often work 10 hours per day, 6 days a week, with minimal breaks, for less than minimum wage. Carwash workers are also subject to health and safety hazards, such as constant exposure to water and to dangerous chemicals without protective gear, and workers have reported kidney damage, respiratory problems, and nerve damage. We will continue to stand in solidarity with these workers to demand what we know is right and just.
After a long, hard struggle, there have been 3 big victories celebrated in this campaign. These victories have been realized in great part because of the community solidarity that has come together to support local carwash workers. In addition to raising working standards in the industry in general, workers and owners of 20 carwashes in the area have signed union contracts, and this number continues to grow. These contracts promise to uphold all wages and hours, health and safety laws, and grant the workers union recognition with the United Steel Workers (USW) Union.
The first of the contracts in the United States, with Bonus Carwash in Santa Monica, was celebrated in October 2011. In 2015, Bonus Carwash has signed its third union contract. As people of faith, we trust that this is just the beginning of the movement for wide-range change in the carwash industry.
"Bosbely and many of his coworkers suffered health effects from using acids and other toxic chemicals without any protective gear, such as goggles or gloves."
Bosbely worked at Vermont Hand Wash for nearly two years as a dryer and detailer. Bosbely and many of his coworkers suffered health effects from using acids and other toxic chemicals without any protective gear, such as goggles or gloves.
Bosbely reported the dangerous working conditions at the carwash to Cal/OSHA, and answered questions from the press when other workers were afraid to. He also joined his coworkers in taking legal action against the owners of the carwash for not paying minimum wage or for overtime, and not allowing workers to take meal and rest breaks.
Bosbely was one of the most outspoken union supporters in the carwash, and took great personal risks to try and improve conditions for all workers there. In October 2008, management at Vermont Hand Wash fired Bosbely.