Another innovative aspect of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign is its focus on building a collective identity among carwash workers, both as immigrants and as workers. That focus is best exemplified by the Carwash Worker Organizing Committee (CWOC) which brings workers together from dozens of carwashes across Los Angeles, to share their experiences and strategies for improving their workplaces, participate in trainings and leadership development and build solidarity. CWOC for most of the workers is an entry door to become an agent of change in their communities by participating in community organizing and civic engagement.
Carwash worker members of CWOC also received an identification card that serve for many workers as their only source of identification. In recent development, CWOC has partnered with St. John’s Clinic to provide quality healthcare to carwash workers. Members of CWOC have priority allotted spaces at the clinic to get medical treatment in a monthly basis.
Carwash workers throughout Los Angeles formed the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee of the United Steelworkers to raise their standard of living, to secure basic workplace protections, and to address the serious environmental and safety hazards that exist in their industry.
Together, the CWOC and the CLEAN Carwash Campaign are committed to:
- Improving working conditions for carwash workers, and insisting that carwash owners provide safe workplaces and meet minimum labor and occupational safety and health standards;
- Ensuring the rights of all carwash workers to form and join unions and bargain collectively with their employers; and
- Demanding that carwash owners abide by existing environmental regulations and clean up their practices so that carwashes do not pollute our environment.
The CWOC will seek the following objectives through collective bargaining with employers once a majority of employees at any carwash choose to be represented by the CWOC:
We Demand Basic Workplace Protections
1. No employee may be terminated or otherwise disciplined without just cause.
2. Employees have the right to a safe workplace.
3. Employees have the right to receive work assignments through a fair system based on seniority that governs seasonal layoff and recall, days and hours of work, and weekend work.
4. Employees will have the right to take a reasonable number of days off when they are sick.
We Demand a Voice on the Job
5. The employer will negotiate in good faith with the chosen representative of its employees about their terms and conditions of employment.
6. Employees have the right to raise grievances with their employer through their chosen representative in a fair process ending in a decision by a neutral third party.
We Demand Real Improvements in Wages and Benefits
7. All employers should be required immediately to improve all workers’ wages, hours, and benefits so that they comply fully with legal standards. Moreover, employers should not reduce any employee’s wages, hours, or benefits that are already above these minimum standards. Mindful of the competitive nature of the carwash industry, the CWOC will seek to bargain for wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions above these standards as more employees in the industry choose to be represented.