Speaker Carl Heastie and Labor Committee Chair Marcos Crespo today announced the Assembly has passed legislation to ensure that car wash workers in New York City, and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties are paid minimum wage (A.6346C, Crespo).
"The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring that every hard working New Yorker is paid a fair wage," said Speaker Heastie. "This vulnerable workforce is often forced to work long hours in brutal conditions and is all too often subject to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Today's legislation will guarantee they are paid the state's minimum wage."
"Car wash workers in New York have been exploited and marginalized in New York's low-wage economy," said Assemblymember Crespo. "Rampant abuse by employers, such as wage theft, has plagued the car wash workforce. These workers deserve to their due wages. The Assembly voted to eliminate the tip subsidy and bring fair wages to this once exploited workforce. Thank you to my colleagues, advocates and workers for your efforts."
Currently, car wash workers are paid a tip credit wage that varies based on the region where they are employed. Calculating the tipped wage can often be confusing and difficult for both employees and employers. The complexity can and has resulted in workers being underpaid and has enabled unscrupulous employers to commit wage theft.
In recent years, both the Attorney General's office and the Department of Labor have investigated and recovered stolen wages in the carwash industry. In 2016, a group of car wash employees in the New York and New Jersey area received a $1.65 million settlement, the largest per worker settlement ever received for their line of work.