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Labor Department Focused on NY Car Wash Industry Unpaid Wages

First it's unpaid wage and overtime problems coming to light at West Coast car washes. Now similar stories are surfacing with pay irregularities and worker mistreatment at car washes throughout New York, most specifically New York City's five boroughs.

We don't generally publish two consecutive blog posts focused on the same subject matter. However, the following story - directly on the heels of a post we just wrote discussing the Sikder Group's wage and overtime problems at many of its car washes in California - seems both relevant and timely, given that it discloses the latest wage-dispute outcome in an industry that the Department of Labor ("DOL") has been specifically targeting since 2008 for excessive wage violations.

One of the former workers at Broadway Bridge Car Wash in Manhattan said last week that, "We are happy now, peaceful" after noting the company's settlement with the DOL. Broadway Bridge will be required to pay dozens of current and former employees a $2 million settlement, one of the largest ever in the car wash industry.

The settlement is focused on employees who worked at the car wash from June 2003 through August 2008. During their employment, a 72-hour week was common practice, with the company paying no lawfully mandated overtime. Moreover, some of the workers were paid wages that were just slightly more than half of the minimum wage, and the company failed to disburse earned tips to them. Most of the workers will receive between $24,000 and $58,000.

The DOL is focusing acutely on hundreds of car washes across the state, with investigators saying that they have already uncovered close to $10 million in unpaid wages.

Related Resource: www.crainsnewyork.com "Car wash comes clean over missing wages" October 12, 2010

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