Oliviero Gomez signs labor contract at Bonus Hand Wash, what the United Steelworkers union says is the only union car wash in the country.
Workers at the Bonus Hand Car Wash in Santa Monica celebrated Tuesday after signing a union contract with their employer. The agreement resulted in what many believe is the first union car wash in the country.
Oliviero Gomez, an employee of the car wash for nine years, has spent the last three years organizing his co-workers.
"Now we can take our breaks, our rest periods — we have our schedule respected. Now when it’s really hot, we can take a rest break with the agreement of the manager," Gomez said, speaking through an interpretor.
The contract also includes an increase in pay to just above minimum wage.
Mike Watson, the general manager of the car wash attended the celebration and said the owners of the car wash are also trying to re-open another car wash down the street under the same union contract.
"We’re proud to be one of the leaders in improving our industry," Watson said.
Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin McKeown also attended the signing ceremony and couldn’t wait for the ink to dry.
"I’m gonna send my own personal car which has a Santa Monica license plate through Bonus Car Wash to be the very first car ever washed in the country under a union contract," McKeown said. "Then, I’m going back to City Hall and I’m going to switch the contracts for car-washing the city has to the only place in town where the workers are paid fair wages and have decent working conditions," he added.