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Carwash Workers, Interpreters, Nurses and Others Join AFL-CIO Unions

NNU photo

In another victory for Southern California “carwasheros” seeking justice, respect and safe workplaces, the workers at Magic Clean carwash in Los Angeles this week voted to join United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675.

The Magic Clean employees are the fourth carwash workforce to win their union as part of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign that has raised awareness of the serious exploitation faced by thousands of carwash workers, including violations of health and safety laws, wage and hour laws and anti-discrimination laws. For more information on the campaign, visit

In other organizing news, more than 225 eligible certified American Sign Language interpreters at Purple Communications, the second largest video relay service provider in the country, voted last month to join The Newspaper Guild-CWA (TNG-CWA). The workers are employed in Arizona, California and Colorado.

Also, some 20 janitorial workers at the Detroit News and Free Press voted to join TNG-CWA.

At Community Hospital Long Beach (Calif.), registered nurses voted by a better than 3-to-1 margin to join National Nurses United (NNU). The 200 nurses say they are seeking staffing improvements to enhance patient care, a safe lift policy to prevent patient falls and other accidents that injure patients and nurses, assurance that RNs can take meal and rest breaks without leaving patients with inadequate care and other patient protections and strengthened standards for RNs.

Workers in the Williams County Ohio Department of Job and Family Services voted to join AFSCME Council 8. Chris Whitlock, a 13-year veteran of the department, says that while the 35 workers faced an aggressive anti-union campaign:

We knew that only by coming together at work and getting to the bargaining table could we make the necessary improvements to our work environment and our service to the community.

At St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., custodial workers voted to join AFSCME. The 40 workers had gone for years without raises and believed the school administration was treating them unfairly and unequally than other employees. While the administration threatened to subcontract their jobs, the college’s Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) rallied to their side. Says senior Jerry Carter:

A Catholic college like St. Mike’s embodies certain social values. It’s very important to treat with respect and dignity the people who work here. It’s important to pay them a livable wage and to ensure they have a healthy work environment.

By a vote of 54-1, food service, maintenance and housekeeping staff at Marian University in Indianapolis voted to join UNITE HERE. The workers are employed by Aramark, which provides the food and maintenance services to the university. Campus faculty, other staff, community allies and the university's Franciscan Sisters have all supported workers' efforts to organize.

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