Actor Esai Morales and Other Screen Actors Guild Members to
Picket Vermont Hand Wash on Saturday
Boycott Part of Ongoing Protest Against Deplorable Working Conditions at Four Area Carwashes
Event: Saturday, April 25, 12-2 p.m. – Vermont Hand Wash
Los Angeles, (April 23, 2009) – Actor and Screen Actors Guild National Board Member Esai Morales, along with other SAG members, will join the ongoing boycott of Vermont Hand Wash in the Los Feliz community this Saturday, from noon until 2 p.m.
Screen Actors Guild is one of numerous AFL-CIO affiliates that have been involved in protesting the carwash, located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, as well as other carwashes owned by the Pirian family.
In February, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed a criminal complaint against owners Benny and Nisan Pirian, four of their carwashes, and Vermont Hand Wash manager Manuel Reyes. The city attorney cites in the complaint 176 counts of criminal misconduct, including conspiracy, witness intimidation, grand theft, brandishing a deadly weapon, failure to pay wages and failure to comply with wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission regulating workplace conditions.
In addition, complaints against Vermont Hand Wash have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board that allege firing and retaliating against workers for speaking out publicly about deplorable conditions.
“It is truly unconscionable for anyone who supports a livable wage and safe working conditions to patronize a business like Vermont Hand Wash,” said Morales. “Carwash employees should be able to support their families and receive a basic level of workplace respect.”
According to information provided by the Community Labor Environmental Action Network’s CLEAN Carwash Campaign, Pirian carwashes have been cited and/or fined since 2003 for failing to pay employees at least minimum wage (Celebrity Car Wash) and failing to provide workers compensation insurance (Five Star Car Wash), among other offenses. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Agency says the owners have failed to ensure adequate guarding from machinery or provide personal protective equipment to employees at certain carwash locations.
“Everyone has the right to speak out and organize against unacceptable conditions on the job, without the fear of retaliation. I strongly encourage all actors and creative artists, and the community at large, to join us in this boycott at Vermont Hand Wash,” said Morales.
The boycott is being coordinated by the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee of the United Steelworkers of America, an AFL-CIO affiliate, which protests the workplace conditions and the firing of workplace activists for trying to organize.
“Together the CLEAN Carwash Campaign coalition will work to support carwash workers who are standing up for their rights and to improve health and safety protections for the 7,000-10,000 carwash workers in the greater Los Angeles area,” said Henry Huerta, representing the organizing committee in its partnership with CLEAN.
PRESS ADVISORY: Esai Morales will be available for interviews during and immediately after the picket. Please contact Pamela Greenwalt for more information about scheduling an opportunity.
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