NEW YORK CITY, June 1 — John Laje, a very rich businessman and owner of a dozen car washes in New York City, has never wanted to meet with his workers who have asked him on various occasions for a better contract including a paid vacation, paid sick days, salary raises for a year and protection against unfair layoffs.
The car wash workers face extreme exploitation that is typical of capitalism. They work 72 hours per week making $5.25 to $5.50 per hour. The workers have to put up with extreme temperatures and using dangerous chemical products without proper equipment or protection.
Management has stolen their tips and sent them home without pay when it rains. Exploiter Laje has doled out a measly 25 cents-an-hour raise to pacify workers.
Laje’s move backfired; the workers went into the streets to protest in front of “LMC CARWASH AND LUBE,” one of his car washes in Harlem. They were joined by workers from community organizations and unions.
This protest was led by members of a fighting organization in Brooklyn supporting the car wash workers in Manhattan. The purpose of policies and union leaders is to demand that the laws and “rights” of workers are respected. It is very emotional seeing that group yelling militant PLP chants such as: “This fist is seen, power to the workers”.
In a meeting a few days before the protest, the group of workers who led this protest proposed celebrating a new conference in which the main theme would be racism, a social construct that directly affects our comrade workers. With the introduction of the Secure Communities Law throughout the U.S. — a racist anti-immigrant law that targets and deports thousands workers through mass arrests), we’re going to see more attacks on and terrorization of immigrants. More than 50 of the present members approved of this protest and we are now organizing this conference for the month of September.
This entire struggle shows us the importance of uniting and creating class consciousness. Capitalism is the root of all evil and it must be destroyed with a revolution. By broadening our base and building the Progressive Labor Party, we can build a new society where power is in the hands of the workers: a communist society.