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Viverito proposes measure to regulate car wash biz

City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito introduces legislation to regulate the car wash industry. Photo by Bill Parry
TimesLedger Newspapers

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) wants to clean up the car wash industry in New York City.

She introduced a bill last week that would protect low-wage workers and bring regulations to halt illegal practices and environmentally hazardous behavior.

Under the legislation, car washes would be required to obtain an annual license from the city Department of Consumer Affairs in order to operate in the city. Applicants would be required to provide detailed information verifying their compliance with labor and environmental regulations as well as other local, state and federal laws.

“We’ve held hearings on this issue and have found a great deal of troubling practices for workers, consumers and the environment,” Mark-Viverito said. “Now we have a chance to take proactive measures to prevent such violation from happening in the first place.”

Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) is chairman of the Civil Service and Labor Committee that will begin hearings on the proposed legislation.

“The habitual mistreatment of workers and our environment by a handful of car wash owners is a problem,” Miller said. “It will be our task in committee to make sure we fix this issue and protect against future occurrences.”

Stephen D. Hans, a Court Square-based attorney who represents the New York City Car Wash Association, supports the bill.

“I believe the bill is designed to flush out the bad guys that run bad businesses and pay low wages,” he said.

He said several of the owners in the association agreed, but they fear uneven enforcement.

“We question if it’s too pro-union,” Hans said. “The car wash industry will be completely different a year from now. What you’ll have is exterior cleaning only that enables you to cut down your workforce. Instead of having 17 workers you’ll have six at most.”

Reach Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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Don from Long Island says:
Just another way for the Government to take more out of the pockets of small business owners, this will for certain hurt the car wash workers not help ,it will mean operators will work with less help and push the remaining workers to take up the slack, car wash workers earn a very good living now way above the average wage,, they are unskilled and will not find other work easy or at all ,more on welfare is what I see. The city better reconsider. This is a bad move for everyone.
March 24, 4:48 pm

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