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Assembly Approves Measure to Protect Car Wash Workers

A bill that would eliminate the sunset date on existing law regulating the car washing and polishing industry passed the Assembly Floor on a 50-22 vote this week. 

Assembly Bill 1387 is authored by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) who represents Baldwin Park in the State Legislature. 

Currently, existing law requires car washes and polishing industry to register with the California Labor Commissioner and post a surety bond for unpaid wages. 

By eliminating the sunset date, it would make this a permanent enforcement program.  

“I am a strong advocate for our business community in our state, but I want our growing and recovering economy to continue on a path of creating good quality paying jobs while protecting the rights for the hard working individuals in this state,” said Hernández in a press statement.   

California is a leader in the nation with the number of car washes and employees employed by car washes.  By some estimates, approximately more than 1,600 car washes in the state and more than 22,000 employees being employed. 

In early 2003, the Department of Industrial Relations conducted a coordinated enforcement sweep of the car washing and polishing industry in the Los Angeles area, finding numerous labor law violations, collecting back wages and penalties totaling over $250,000. 

In March 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported the results of an investigation of the car wash industry finding many owners pay less than half the required federally mandated minimum wage along with other violations such as hiring minors, operating without worker’s compensation insurance and denying workers their meals and rest breaks.   

“AB 1387 would not only provide protections to workers in this industry, but it would also provide the surety bond requirement not apply to an employer as long as the employer is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement,” said Hernández.    

AB 1387 moves to the California State Senate for consideration.

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