For the past several years, the Southern California CLEAN Carwash Campaign has raised awareness of the serious exploitation faced by thousands of car-wash workers—known as carwasheros—including violations of health and safety laws, wage and hour laws, and anti-discrimination laws.
While workers at a trio of SoCal car washes have won union contracts with the United Steelworkers Local 675, carwasheros throughout the Los Angeles area have benefited as local and state officials have cracked down on safety, health, wage and other violations, and workers have become more aware of their rights.
In recognition of her work with the CLEAN Carwash Campaign—a coalition supported by the USW, the AFL-CIO and more than 100 community, faith and labor organizations in Los Angeles—the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health is honoring AFL-CIO Senior Organizer Chloe Osmer with its 2012 Activist Award.
Osmer is the former acting director for the CLEAN Carwash Campaign. COSH says:
Chloe helped develop a model of collaboration with community groups, partnership with state and federal enforcement agencies, and empowering and involving workers in improving safety conditions in the car-wash industry. The Carwash Campaign developed worker health and safety committees, a countywide heat stress outreach campaign and popular education materials for low-literacy workers. The CLEAN Carwash Campaign pushed OSH issues to the forefront of the campaign, providing a great model of how to effectively use OSH as an organizing tool with low-wage immigrant workers.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.cleancarwashla.org.