Washed Out

The Story

A federal judge has overturned a 2015 city law that forced non-unionized car washes to buy exorbitant bonds to ensure that they will pay their workers. The judge determined that New York City was interfering in labor-management relations in a manner that violated federal law. Car washes, fast-food restaurants, and similar businesses that employ low-skilled, entry-level workers are difficult to unionize because of the nature of the work environment. Municipal elected officials, who receive copious political contributions from labor unions, must refrain from forcing unionization where it has not been legally won.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. NLRA: The National Labor Relations Act carefully spells out the manner in which unions can organize workers and precludes local government from taking an active role in the process. Read more.

  2. Carwasheros: The effort to organize car wash workers succeeded in unionizing just 5% of these establishments in the city. Read more.

  3. Flippers: Efforts to organize the fast-food industry have been stymied by the fact that a large percentage of the workforce is under 21 and works in the industry only for a short time. Read more.

“Pressuring businesses to unionize is impermissible under the NLRA, as it inserts the City directly into labor-management bargaining.”

Alvin Hellerstein, U.S. District Judge

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Here Come the Unions By Claire Berlinski (October 2008)

“Democrats prepare to follow Margaret Thatcher’s example—but backward.”

Featured Event


Book Talk with Kay Hymowitz
The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back
Brooklyn Historical Society
Thursday June 29, 2017
6:30 – 8:00 PM

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And in other news...

The A train derailment in West Harlem Tuesday that injured 34 people was caused by ‘human error’ and a piece of replacement rail that had been improperly stored on the tracks, MTA officials said.”