Living Trust Attorney Southern California

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					Building Power For
Workers In Southern
      EARN Conference

      December 9, 2008

           The Project
 Build Power to improve conditions
 for the 10,000+ car wash industry
 workers in Los Angeles area, by
 creating a high-profile, industry-
 wide, USW-affiliated L.A. Car Wash
 Workers Organizing Committee.

                      The Workers
   Approx. 10,000 workers in L.A. area
       70% are documented non-citizens
       25%+ are undocumented workers
       5% are documented citizens
   Majority Latino; monolingual Spanish
   Not as transient as thought; average worker has been at
    same job more than 7 years
   5-6 day/50-60 hour workweek
   Est. $12,500 annual earnings per worker
   Walk, ride bike or take bus to work
   Virtually all non-union, but they want to organize

                  The Employers
   More than 500 car washes in L.A. area
   Focus on labor-intensive wash/dry by hand operations
    (not automated)—preferred by majority of consumers
   Average location employs 20-25 workers
   Almost $300 million in annual revenues (avg.
    $600,000/year per establishment)
   Highly fragmented; majority of firms are single
   Western Car Wash Association—employers’ group—
    may engage them for industry-wide alternative to brutal
    litigation of workers’ claims.

                  The Problems
   Car wash workers are routinely exploited with
    respect to most basic labor standards, Often car
    wash workers are:
     Not paid for hours they work
     Not paid minimum wage ($7.50/hr. in CA)
     Work for tips only
     Not provided legally required rest breaks
     Subjected to numerous and significant health &
      safety hazards (esp. chemicals)

                                 The Law
   California law became effective in 2007 to clean up
    worker exploitation and labor violations specifically in
    the car wash industry. AB 1688 requires all car washes
    in California to:
       Be specially registered to do business in California.
            Registration granted only if car wash is in compliance with all state
             labor regulations.
       Creates restitution fund with registration fees.
       Post a surety bond of at least $15,000.
       Authorize state to review federal tax return information.
   Provides important organizing leverage.

    CLEAN Carwash Campaign
 Collaborationwith the Community
 Labor Environmental Action Network
 (CLEAN) – a strong diverse coalition
 of labor, immigrant rights, religious,
 environmental and community based
 organizations and worker centers.

               Campaign Strategy
    To improve living standards and win collective bargaining
     rights includes creating an incentive, through targeted
     litigation, complaints to enforcement agencies, and public
     education, for employers to enter into an agreement with the
     campaign (the “CLEAN Car Wash Agreement”) in which
     the employers pledge
1)   to respect minimum standards and permit third-party
     monitoring of their compliance with the pledge; and
2)   to remain neutral and respect card check or other non-
     confrontational means of testing majority support for
     purposes of union recognition.

    Labor Standards Enforcement
   Work with California Department of Industrial
    Relations; Cal OSHA; Attorney General; LA
    City Attorney; LA Department of Public Works,
    and other enforcement agencies to help
    conform the industry up to labor standards and
    promote the organizing strategy of the CLEAN
    Carwash Agreements and collective bargaining

            Campaign Strategy
   Once recognition is achieved among a
    substantial number of car wash employers, the
    campaign will assist the workers to bargain a
    contract that will provide funding (through a
    labor management cooperation trust fund) to
    insure that all employers abide by labor
    standards while also raising car wash workers
    above the bare minimums.


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