Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why Car Wash Unionizing Won't Catch On

Most baby boomers probably have at least a dim recollection of the campy "Car Wash" movie from the 1970's. The film's plot centered around a day in the life of the mostly African-American employees at a car wash in Southern California. The movie wouldn't be made today, of course, and not because of the passings of George Carlin and Richard Pryor, but because you don't see any brothers at car washes anymore in L.A.  As with construction, auto body shops and maintenance businesses, black workers are almost entirely extinct in Los Angeles.  Just like the fast food service industry, most such positions are occupied by Hispanic illegal aliens and their children.

Illegal aliens have replaced African-Americans in low skill jobs during the past quarter century because they rarely complain and can be paid less. Nowhere is this more evident than at local car washes.

Of course, when you have an illiterate, undocumented work force, all sorts of abuses by employers can take place. The illegal immigrant cheerleaders at Clean Car Wash L.A. have complained of incidents of bullying of employees, workers being paid only in tips, hazardous working conditions, and a lack of break time. For the record, we have no doubt that most or all of these accusations are true. If you allow people to violate the law, illegal alien workers or employers of illegal aliens, they will take advantage of it. That's human nature.

Consequently, the Cesar Chavez and Saul Alinsky inspired folks at the National Day Labor Organizing Network, the UCLA Labor Center, and other "economic justice" outfits have undertaken a major community organizing effort to start unionizing car washes. And in recent weeks, they have enjoyed their first major success ( The ownership of Bonus Car Wash, in ultra-liberal Santa Monica, has recognized the United Steel Workers as the certified collective bargaining representative of the illegals who scrub, wipe, and vacuum automobiles at their establishment.

Now we will mostly sidestep belaboring the obvious point that none of this unionizing would be necessary if the employees were legally in the country because legal actions and litigation would have put an end to the above-described employer misconduct years ago. Instead, it's better to briefly explain why efforts to unionize car washes en masse are doomed to fail, and it's really this simple:

Illegal aliens serve four basic purposes in America. One, they provide cheap, compliant and malleable labor. Two, they produce votes and influence for various special interest groups and politicians. Three, they buy things and provide consumption for American businesses and government entities. Four, they attend and contribute to churches.

Of course, by unionizing, the employers will now have to start treating the illegals like regular American workers, which means less employer control and higher costs. This situation will drive up prices because it directly interferes with Purpose Number One.

It's hardly rocket science. If you own a business, you want illegals because they cost less and don't cause problems. When they don't and they do, there's almost no point employing them anymore. The car wash industry in California is competitive, however, and most people who own such businesses like having their near slave labor workforce, so we at have a bold prediction (and we're really going out on a limb with this one!):  Illegals from Latin America will continue to work at car washes in L.A. and most of them won't be unionized.


  1. I can't wait till Obama's just a bad memory and congress crushes these companies hiring illegals. If more people would report these bastards to they're local IRS, who has now teamed up with ICE maybe we could get something done on a local level!

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  3. The IRS has not "teamed up" with ICE.

    I just finished a tax preparation class. One of the students has been working as a clerk at the IRS for several years.

    He said that the IRS does not care about legal status - they only care if you pay your taxes or not.

    The IRS WILL state that they are not the INS.

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