The 99 unions that cover more than 300,000 New York City employees (teachers, fire fighters, librarians, cops, sanitation workers, et al) are working without a contract. Some for years — NYC teachers haven’t had one since 2009. When a contract expires with no prospect of a settlement, a union has three choices: 1. Agree with the employer to extend the contract; 2. Work without a contract (still earn a paycheck, receive benefits but without job security) or, 3. Strike.
Twenty-three car washers at the Sunny Day Car Wash in the Bronx (the second group in the city’s car wash industry to unionize) decided to strike for fair pay, a 40-hour work week, five paid sick days and two personal days a year. It took three months of picketing but the National Labor Relations Board was finally able to negotiate a three-year deal that got the striking workers back to work. This is the second group of car washers to strike and strike a deal that mandates a series of raises and other benefits for immigrant “carwasheros.” (Astoria Car Wash & Hi-Tek 10 Minute Lube was the first, in May 2013.) There are approximately 5,000 car washers in the city.