A Real World Look at What Forced $15 Per Hour and Unions Did to Car Wash Workers In NYC

$15 per hour minimum wage sounds like a great idea.

What does it do in the real world?

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if the carwash workers can’t organize
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any workers can organize see sep 21 2015
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10 straight errs including union leaders
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and elected officials block traffic and
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were arrested in front of a small car
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wash in Brooklyn it was an empowering
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moment these workers were willing to
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stand out there to fight for their
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rights and for a basic human dignity and
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that’s something that you take with you
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for the rest of your life and you have
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the ability to make change by coming
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together and when you do that sometimes
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you find that you’ve got some friends on
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your side in the past six years
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Industries like car washes that employ
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low-skilled workers have been the target
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of lawsuits for alleged under payment of
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wages and they both engage in rampant
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labor law violations an ambitious
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unionization Drive
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and a successful campaign to raise the
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minimum wage in New York to $15 per hour
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[Music]
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but here’s what really happened instead
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of helping New York’s low wage workers
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the movement is destroying their jobs
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it’s pushed some car washes to replace
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their employees with machines and others
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to close down increasingly workers have
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no choice but to ply their trade out of
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illegal vans parked on the street
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because the minimum wage has made it
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illegal for anyone to hire them at the
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going rate at the same time businesses
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that have chosen to automate are
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benefiting because outlawing cheap labor
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makes it harder for new competitors to
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undercut them on price and service this
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is an in-depth look at the real-world
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consequences when politicians interfere
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with a complex industry that they don’t
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understand enabled by media coverage
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that rarely questions their simplistic
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tale of exploited workers in need of
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protection protect I guess who protected
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what are the king
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[Music]
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[Music]
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in 2012 a coalition of progressive
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groups led by the national retail
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workers union launched an ambitious
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campaign to transform New York City’s
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car wash industry the genesis of the
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campaign came out of a realization that
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you had an industry which was really
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just a breeding ground for terrible
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conditions hottest days of the year and
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the coldest days of the year these
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workers were outside working 60 70 hours
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a week and sometimes more and not even
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getting paid the minimum wage I think
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workers felt that they didn’t have many
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choices and they really just had no one
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that they could turn to and we felt that
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we could have a real impact on on the
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industry but the truth is that almost
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from day one nothing about the carwash
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campaign has gone as planned for
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starters it turns out that most workers
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don’t want help from organized labor
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after six years organizers have
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unionized eleven businesses or about
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four percent of the city’s car washes
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two of them have since closed down in
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the Union withdrew at three more because
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of a lack of support from the workers
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there just six unionized shops remaining
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or about two percent of the city’s
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registered car washes yellow being
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equivalent to porta pero Yo Yo no tengo
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beneficial Konami code a Delano Irvin
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par is an immigrant from Guatemala who
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works at Main Street car wash in Queens
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one of the city’s six remaining
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unionized shops organizers have held two
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strikes at this location in the past few
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years and the New York Times has covered
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allegations of worker mistreatment here
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now Main Street could become the fourth
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car wash where the workers pressure the
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Union to withdraw the Mizpah Panero same
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idea can no get in Massillon long young
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protect them protect against who
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protector what to the king
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yeah me no me gusta trabajar aqui your
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boy was pitamaha otro lado yo boy
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I’m mucho look at it phallic llama have
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longer say another la misma no ii of
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macedon
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at this particular time we represent the
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workers there and we certainly hope that
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we’ll be able to continue to do that
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with the unionization dr floundering the
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movements leaders shifted their focus to
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getting the city and state to mandate
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change the most significant government
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intervention championed by the union was
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an increase in the minimum wage to $15
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per hour
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[Music]
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this move is up ending the industry but
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not in the way activists intended we’ve
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heard over the years from employers
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repeatedly that any time that we’ve made
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changes within the industry that either
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they’d all automate or the industry
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would suffer massive shutdowns we
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haven’t seen that happen today in
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reality that’s exactly what’s happening
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the $15 minimum wage is driving many new
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york car washes to replace men with
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machines such as at this large operation
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in queens that installed a new arch for
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hosing down vehicles which will replace
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about four workers like many of the
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city’s car washes this one was designed
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at a time when manual labor costs less
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than installing and maintaining
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machinery labor was cheap
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yeah real cheap Ahmir Malky is a
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second-generation car wash builder when
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he started in the industry in the 1980s
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operators all over the city were
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actually dismantling machinery because
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rag hose and brush willing men did a
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better job for less today
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it’s reversing labor is expensive i we
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need the proper equipment to clean so we
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don’t have to use extra men it’s not
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just renovations new fully automated car
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washes are opening up such as this
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state-of-the-art outfit and you’re j
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keh airport with electronic gates a
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self-serve vacuum and a single manager
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on site making sure everything is
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running smoothly
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carwash owners are choosing to automate
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even though it entails substantial risk
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take best auto spa in Brooklyn one of
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the city’s premier hand washes drawing
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clients who care deeply about the
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appearance of their cars and are willing
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to pay more for the human touch the $15
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minimum wage means that this business
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model is simply no longer viable
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so best auto spas transforming from the
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equivalent of an artisanal Bistro to
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becoming just another fast-food joint
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two years ago the owner installed
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$200,000 worth of equipment which
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allowed him to layoff eight workers now
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he’s facing another policy change that
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would further increase his labor costs
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employers are currently allowed to
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attribute a portion of the tips earned
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by their workers towards meeting the
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minimum wage requirement New York State
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is seriously considering a proposal to
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eliminate the so called tip credit if
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that happens come January the owner of
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Vegas Auto Spa says he’ll have no choice
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but to give all these employees a pink
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slip and go fully automated then you
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have mmm wunderbar Church Avenue you
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have new fully automated places opening
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up like City Car Wash Express on
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Northern Boulevard and Staten Island I
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could go on what is your take on these
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examples which I think do actually show
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a major trend towards automation I get
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it if you go into a car wash and an
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owner is said i’ve automated because of
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what’s going on here that it makes you
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think that it’s like you know part of a
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much broader story I’m not saying it
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isn’t the case I’m just saying that it’s
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like that might not necessarily be the
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case it’s true that not every carwash
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owner is willing to take on the risk and
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expense of automation and there’s
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another option exit the business and
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relinquish their land for more
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profitable uses which has also been
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happening at many New York car washes
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several car washes have closed after
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their owners were sued for paying off
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the books and not complying with labor
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regulations we will continue to keep an
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eye on these businesses to ensure that
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they don’t stray from the path of
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righteousness practices a lawsuit
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contributed to the closing of this car
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wash in Woodside Queens to this one in
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Harlem
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and to this one in Upper Manhattan at
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each of these locations dozens of
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low-wage jobs disappeared our workers
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really better off when the car wash that
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they work for it closes now yeah I don’t
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agree with your assessment that these
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car washes are closing as a result of
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wage and hour lawsuits
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that’s that might not necessarily be the
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case I may be how its being
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characterized to you another unintended
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consequence is that for business owners
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who choose to stick it out and automate
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the $15 minimum wage actually protects
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them from competition by making it
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harder for new car washes to open up
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solely from being a businessman the
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increase in the minimum wage makes my
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business so much easier the best thing
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that could happen to me and I think to
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the industry Jack Gilinsky is the
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manager of a new car wash in Queens it
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opened last year at the site of yet
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another labor heavy operation that
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closed following a wage in our lawsuit
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the new owner converted it to a fully
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automated exterior only car wash meaning
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customers are left to vacuum the
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interiors of their own vehicles because
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we used to do the same thing with 25
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people now I’m doing it with two by
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making cheap labor illegal the $15
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minimum wage made it possible for
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Belinsky to downgrade his service before
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if I go exterior and my competition says
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he went exterior I’m still free service
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I’ll take all his customers that never
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gave me a chance to go exterior right
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now everybody’s forced to go exterior
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because of this crazy law and the
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minimum wage $15 an hour now everybody
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if even though the field the $15 minimum
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wage amounts to government prohibition
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of low wage work and yet just making
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something illegal won’t stop able-bodied
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men with few alternatives from meeting a
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market demand for their services
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they live in the shadows the irony is
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that progressives have pushed car wash
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workers further into the shadows since
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legitimate car washes can no longer hire
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them workers are going to the streets
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where it’s all cash no taxes no unions
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no workers
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no insurance and certainly no wage
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floors aleko me on all you other people
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showing up they make it ever hot now on
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the quarter note ID Fausto who asked to
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be identified by his first name only is
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an illegal carwash worker he’s part of a
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three-man operation washing cars on the
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curb out of a van for about fifteen
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dollars a pop la la guitarra marginal
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upon us you know lucky talk what I know
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today was he’s lived in the US for 19
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years and still sends a portion of his
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earnings back to the Dominican Republic
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to help support his wife and children
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how the hell can you how can I compete
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because of these guys they’re paying
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they’re paying cash you understand
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they’re not paying the proper tax is
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fika uninsured but I am
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and now the established car washes left
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with no choice between stall expensive
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machines and plaster their walls with
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operating licenses are the ones
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clamoring for the government to enforce
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the minimum wage we worry for the
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workers look at the rules that we make
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but if those rules are not enforced
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those laws are toothless they only
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destroy the good guy that tries to
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follow of all the rules and has to
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compete with the bad guy that breaks all
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the rules no tiara bahara Toshio neutral
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hockey mask Yo no puedo encontrar classy
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some of these guys working out of these
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vans don’t have other employment options
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are you sure that it would be in their
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best interests to shut them down yeah I
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I actually I I do and I’m gonna be very
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blunt about that you can always make the
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argument that you can allow some people
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to skirt the law some people discourage
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that are meant to protect workers in an
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effort to give people work opportunities
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that’s a devil’s bargain or maybe the
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real devil’s bargain is championing a
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set of policies that sound good at a
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rally but that in the real world
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jeopardized the livelihoods of the
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working poor which brings us back to
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Vegas Auto Spa the Brooklyn Car Wash the
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progressive activists made an example of
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back in 2015
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shortly after the car wash unionized the
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owner started planning his exit strategy
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two years later he found a buyer who
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kept it running for one more year
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today Vegas Auto spas shuttered and the
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ripple effects of the entire movement
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have been to destabilize an industry
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pushing the men and women who worked in
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it even deeper into the shadows
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you

Regarding the Judge Kavanaugh Hearings

Regarding the Judge Kavanugh hearings. Today in on a local radio talk show a caller made a great point. The caller was a policeman with a military inteligence/police background. He said in order for Judge Kavanaugh to be on the Court of Appeals he had to have a full Fed level background check. They comb through everything you ever did. Talk to your friends and the neighbors, classmates and coworkers you didn’t really know but they knew you. If someone was having rape parties in a college people would be talking about it. It would come out in the investigation. Judge K clerked on the Supreme Court. In order to be at his level he would have gone through about six investigations. He would never get to where he was if he was guilty of the crimes he has been accused of. Those records could be pulled and made public.