Car Wash Bill Will
By Stuart Appelbaum, President
Retail, Wholesale and Department
Store Union, UFCW
Banning the tip credit in the car
wash industry downstate would
help lift up 5,000 mostly immigrant
car wash workers in New York.
Caribbean Life, Sept. 27 - Oct.3, 2019 43
Leaders must train
future leaders -
in the labor movement
Shaun D. Francois I, President of Local 372 and DC37
BY SHAUN D. FRANCOIS I
Throughout my 25 year career I have
always been politically active and engaged
in my union.
However it wasn’t until AFSCME initiated
Next Wave, a program that mentored
union members under 40 years of
age for leadership roles. I truly saw how
important it was for leaders to engage
and train our young future leaders.
I realized early on that the future of
the labor movement is linked to labor
activism, organizing and mentoring. I
was fortunate to be given the opportunity
to chair my unions fi rst Next Wave
Committee. Subsequently I am the fi rst
Next Waver to be elected an executive
offi cer at District Council 37.
We as leaders have a unique opportunity
to grow and become stronger with
the support of millennial workers.
According to the Economic Policy
Institute, workers age 35 and under are
the main reason for the surge in union
membership over the past two years.
Nationwide in 2017, nearly 860,000 workers
under age 35 got hired and nearly a
quarter of those were union jobs. Let’s
not forget young workers were instrumental
in the Fight for $15, #MeToo and
living wage to just name a few.
It is up to us to break from tradition
and connect with the younger generation
and encourage them not only to
join, but also lead.
My goal as President is to teach others
to lead the fi ght.
The Trump Administration seeks to
destroy unions by attacking worker’s
rights and by introducing laws and policies.
We can’t just sit back and wait for
new leaders to arrive.
Working with our parent unions, we
must identify those with leadership potential
and then fi nd ways to nurture
and develop that potential. That is why
I encourage my members to vote, become
union organizers, join union committees,
attend union meetings, rallies,
protest and join Next Wave Committee.
We need to remind the public that
the fi ve day work week, health benefi ts
and safe working conditions are some of
the things our predecessor union workers
fought for and won on our behalves.
We must stay vigilant so those
gains we have made are not taken
away. Stay Ready!
The Car Wash Bill 2019, which would end
subminimum wages and help eliminate
wage theft for thousands of downstate
New York car wash workers, was passed by the New York State Senate
and Assembly in June. With car wash workers downstate still being
underpaid and still vulnerable to potential wage theft, it is crucial that
this bill becomes law as soon as possible.
Labor activists, progressive elected officials, and workers aren’t
the only ones who support car wash workers in their fight for better
jobs and fair pay. In 2015, none other than Pope Francis met with car
wash workers in Harlem to show
his support, bringing worldwide
attention to a mostly-immigrant
group of hardworking people who
struggle to put food on their
families’ tables due to
underpayment and exploitation.
Numerous New York elected
Tip credit can even be used
as a vehicle for wage theft,
with disreputable business
owners stealing tips and
violating minimum wage laws.
officials including New York City’s mayor, New York City Council
members and state officials have stood with car wash workers. And,
last year, during a public teleconference town hall, Governor Cuomo
acknowledged that tip credit can even be used as a vehicle for wage
theft, with disreputable business owners stealing tips and violating
minimum wage laws.
Governor Cuomo was
right about how the current
workers. The so-called “tip
credit” that allows
employers downstate to pay
car wash workers below minimum wage based upon the idea that
customers will make up the difference in tips. But in reality, this often
results in workers taking home below minimum wage, due to lack of
tips, employers dipping into the tip jar, and a confusing web of 8
different possible sub-minimum wages in New York. That confusion
often provides employers with an outrageous license to steal, and
even well-meaning employers have sometimes run afoul of the law
due to its complicated nature.
Banning the so-called “tip credit” in the car wash industry
downstate would help lift up 5,000 mostly immigrant car wash
workers in New York. We applaud the actions of the
state legislature this past summer to end this
injustice, and we urge Governor Cuomo to sign
the Car Wash Bill into law to protect car wash
workers and their families from wage theft and