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State sues three L.A. car washes for alleged wage violations

March 06, 2012|By Marc Lifsher
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announces recent car wash labor contracts in Southern California.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announces recent car wash labor contracts… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

State labor regulators have sued three Los Angeles-area car washes for alleged minimum wage and overtime pay violations.

The California Labor Commissioner's office said Tuesday it took enforcement actions against the Rosecrans King Car Wash, the Wilshire Car Wash and Vermont Auto Spa.

Two separate complaints ask for a little more than $2 million in unpaid wages, penalties and damages.

"We will use every tool available to ensure employers pay their workers what is owed for the labor that is provided," Commissioner Julie Su said.

Su said her investigations found that the three employers "knowingly and willfully failed to properly record accurate time records for each worker and failed to provide them with itemized wage deduction statements with their pay." As a result, the employees could not verify that they were being paid for all hours worked.

The three car washes did not respond to requests for comment on the state's allegations.

Car washes in recent years have been the target of union organizing drives. The Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica signed the first union contract in September. In February, two South Los Angeles car washes agreed to collective bargaining contracts with employees.

The agreement was celebrated by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who called the union victories "the future of the labor movement."

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