2:20 pm Jul. 27, 2012
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is circulating a draft letter among her Council colleagues expressing "very serious concerns" about working conditions at car washes owned by John Lage.
Lage has been in the cross-hairs of local organized labor for some time, and Quinn presumably sees an opportunity to score a point with unions, even as she sits on the paid sick leave legislation those unions are also seeking.
Last week, United NY released a report naming Lage as one of the "city's worst low-wage employees."
(Daniel Massey at Crains has a good run-down of the labor fight against Lage.)
Back in April, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio--who, like Quinn, is expected to run for mayor next year--sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, criticizing the current administration for spending more then $170,000 at Lage's car washes, which de Blasio said is "notorious for mistreating workers."
Quinn's letter, the draft of which was forwarded to me by a Council source, is directed at Lage himself.
Here's a copy of the draft:
As members of the NYC Council, we have very serious concerns about the employment practices reportedly being used at your car washes.
Many of your workers have reported to us that they are being underpaid, that their tips are being stolen, and that they receive almost no protection from the harsh chemicals and cleansers that they use. It’s our understanding as well that they have contacted you repeatedly to schedule a meeting to no avail. In fact, many of them report that they are now being retaliated against by the managers at your car washes. These allegations, if true, are simply unacceptable.
We continue to stand with your workers in their fight for respect and dignity in the workplace and would like to meet with you, your workers and their representatives immediately to discuss these concerns.