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car wash news, unions

New York Car Washes Sue City Over New Union Rules

Workers demanded an increase in the minimum wage, among other things, in New York City in May 2014.

Workers demanded an increase in the minimum wage, among other things, in New York City in May 2014.

Car wash owners in New York are revolting against the city’s newly imposed rules for unions. The New York Times reports that the Association of Car Wash Owners, representing about 90 car washes in New York City, filed a lawsuit Friday. Workers say the new rules, aimed at protecting low wage workers is illegally favoring unions.

Their anger comes after a provision in the new rule states that non-unionized businesses would have to pay $150,000 to get a license and to operate. Those business already unionized would pay $30,000. Business owners say the fees are outrageous.

“Governments can’t put their thumb on the scales of whether a company should unionize or not unionize,” said Michael A. Cardozo, a lawyer for the car wash owners. “You’re basically coercing them into entering a collective bargaining agreement.”

The city maintains that the laws are meant to protect the working class in an industry that lacks regulations. About 200 car washes operate in the city and so far the laws have not spurred most to unionize. The lawsuit represents the first major challenge to the law since it was imposed by the city in June.

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