Workin' at the car wash


Worker advocates with La Raza Centro Legal and the San Francisco Day Labor Program are partnering with city officials for a creative approach to addressing the pervasive issue of wage theft: A worker-owned car wash.

On Aug. 17, attorneys from La Raza joined with City Attorney Dennis Herrera to announce that a lawsuit had been filed against the owners of Tower Car Wash for longstanding labor law violations that resulted in workers earning less than minimum wage. The complaint, filed jointly with the city and La Raza, seeks to recover up to $3 million in compensation, penalties, and interest for the cheated workers.

The Tower Car Wash lawsuit, along with other high-profile complaints alleging wage theft that the city has filed against the owners of Dick Lee Pastry and Danny Ho, who allegedly cheated day laborers out of the money they were owed, would never have come to fruition if low-wage workers hadn't come forward. Individuals like Tower Car Wash employee Rosa Ochoa, who's involved with La Raza's Colectiva de Mujeres, have publicly challenged their employers for labor violations, a tough stand in a state with exceptionally high unemployment in the midst of a recession.

"What we feel like is really important about this lawsuit is that for us, it's about worker empowerment," says Workers' Rights Coordinating Attorney Kate Hegé of La Raza. "It wouldn't be possible without these workers being able to come forward."

The idea for a worker-owned car wash emerged out of a desire to advance the goal of worker empowerment, Hegé notes. With help from Sup. David Campos, interim Mayor Ed Lee, and pro bono assistance from the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, La Raza and the San Francisco Day Labor Program hope to establish a regular car wash on weekdays in the city-owned lot on Bayshore and Alemany boulevards, the location of the Alemany Farmer's Market and the Alemany Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays.

"We've been working with the city for the past several months to start a green, worker-owned car wash cooperative where workers of the San Francisco Day Labor Program would not only administer it, but work and gain benefits," Renee Saucedo, Community Empowerment Coordinator at La Raza, told the Guardian. "The main thing about this day labor car wash is that it's going to be run by the workers themselves."

The project comes on the heels of a broader local effort to improve protections for low-wage workers. Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors approved the Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance, crafted in partnership with the Progressive Workers Alliance to strengthen the the city's Office of Labor Standards & Enforcement.


(reasonable given that all businesses do) then the real question here is simply this:

Do you want to see more people employed at a lower wage, or less people employed at a higher wage?

Answer that question and you can reasonably assess the prudence of such purges.

Also bear in mind that any illegals who are fired as a result (let's be honest; those workers are mostly illegals) may have little choice than to resort to a life of crime.

Why don't you do what you didn't do and actually ask the affected workers what they think?

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

Can you join the 21st century please?

No one is 'illegal'.

You are referring to undocumented citizens of this planet.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

And call a late term abortion a partial birth abortion?

Jeez, you need to go with the times and update your language.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

I agree with Eric. The 'I-word' dehumanizes immigrants and wounds their dignity. It betrays the ignorance of the speaker (it's an adjective, not a noun). It also encourages a climate which can lead to hate crimes against innocent people. So, please don't use it. You can sign the pledge to drop the "I-word" here~

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

If you are here illegally you are not innocent.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

That is a defining principle of our criminal justice system. It is not a crime to be undocumented. It is a civil violation or at worst a misdemeanor (if you are caught entering the U.S. at the border). Please get your facts straight.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

expected to enjoy the full benefits of constitutional protection. Those are explicitly reserved for citizens.

That is why immigration court allows indefinite detention and why defendants have no right to free legal counsel.

You're the one needing to get her facts straight.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

No actually, the Constitution establishes expansive rights regardless of citizenship. Perhaps you should re-read it and actually pay attention this time.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

And elsewhere say that we are all citizens of the world and that no-one is illegal?

You do know that the constitution gives power over who can come and go from the country?

Your opportunism is neo-con awesome.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

Again. Time to get a grip. You are tweaking here. Either stop taking whatever you are abusing, or get back on whatever medication you stopped taking.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

It is a crime to 'borrow' the identity of another (identity theft). It is a crime to fail to pay taxes on earned income (tax evasion). Both of these are felonies. How is the 'undocumented' individual to gain employment and earn a living in the U.S. without being guilty of either? It follows that to enter the country ILLEGALLY for purposes of employment demands that crimes were premeditated. To gain employment demands that crimes were committed. Get your facts straight.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

"Mere unlawful presence in the United States has never been a crime. When considering immigration reform legislation in 2005, Congress specifically rejected a provision that would have made unlawful presence in the United States a federal crime." ~ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project

"California's undocumented immigrants will pay more than $2.7 billion in state and local taxes this year, according to a new report released by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center"~

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

Cases in point, Lisa.

"The 15 people charged since last July were accused of either possessing a false identification document when applying for a passport, making a false statement on an application, or improperly entering the United States.
Five were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to 10 months.
They include Ramon Velez Alvarez, of Pittsburg, sentenced to 10 months, and Jose Luis Gallardo-Rosiles of San Jose, sentenced to six months, in both cases for making a false statement on a passport application.

The fugitives include Alberto Alcazar of Milipitas, accused of possessing a false identification document when he applied for a passport. He eluded arrest in July 2010, Haag said.
Rumualdo Hernandez Giar, who is charged with applying for a passport with another person's birth certificate, evaded arrest in August 2010.
The third fugitive, Erick Jiminez of San Rafael, is accused of applying for a passport using another person's birth certificate and illegally re-entering the United States. Jiminez eluded arrest in March 2011, Haag said."

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

The recent adoption of racist laws targeting immigrants (see Arizona) has been driven by ugly and inaccurate rhetoric which suggests that all undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a century of research has established that crime rates for immigrants are lower than for the native-born (regardless of their legal status).~

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

Stealing wages from workers also is not innocent.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

debate here that isn't suffocated by cloying nauseous political correctness?

People who are here illegally are illegal. Adopting euphemisms won't make the real, underlying problem go away. It's merely a distraction.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

Paul, with all respect...perhaps you see this as a matter of "cloying nauseous political correctness," as you put it. But for many folks, it is truly a matter of life or death. As the LA Times reports, hate crimes against Latinos are up 50% while for most other groups the number dropped or held steady.

Listen, I have been following the debate over immigration for the past few years, and I can't even begin to describe the violence of some of the rhetoric I've heard. Nor can I convey my horror every time I hear of a new hate crime against Latinos/ immigrants. The list grows longer by the day, and includes an innocent nine year old girl named Brisenia Flores and her father who were murdered during a home invasion by members of a Minutemen group.

Look, in every battle ever waged, the first thing that occurs is the cold, calculated dehumanization of "the enemy". This creates the climate that makes violence against another human being possible. I'm just asking people to stop and think before they degrade others. These are your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends, your brothers and sisters on this planet.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

All those things strung together in such a truly interesting fashion.

I hope that you keep up the newspeak by calling a late term abort a partial birth abortion, demand that the war on Christmas end etc...

We all need to perfect our language and thought's correctly like they do in Europe. Like the House of American Activities was intended to do for the people when it was founded to hunt for fascist propaganda, before the right wingers used it to ferret out good communist apologists.

I truly wish the peasants and congenital idiots were smart enough to live with you and Eric in the 21st century.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

It was actually called the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Perhaps you should take a quick glance in the mirror before sitting down to type the term 'congenital idiot' in reference to others.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

"From 1934 to 1937, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities,"

HUAC was started to investigate right wingers which was cool with the left, when it was investigating commies the crying really kicked in. It's interesting that LIsa calls for bans on hate speech.

Was you post a rant about my forgetting to include part of the name?

Do you know what an ad-homonym (personal attack is) is?

It's interesting how you folks close ranks around PC newspeak. What next, complaining about Trotskyism?

Posted by matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

Aren't you expending just a little too much energy, vehemence and verbal pretzel making here on a simple rebuttal to a simple criticism?

It becomes clear that whether or not you are congenital idiot becomes a progressively easier question to answer the more that you type. So to that extent, your exorbitant reply is, I suppose quite useful.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

You think that since I referenced everyone but Lisa and Eric as being congenital idiots I included you?

I think we can let you be lumped with Lisa and Eric as being appointed enlightened betters. Henceforth if I mention the greatness of the self appointed genius of people like Eric and Lisa and forget to mention your majesty don't feel bad, I will clarify if asked by you.

I don't want to lump you in with the stupid masses. When I mention the greatness that is the intellectual powerhouse of those who lecture on newspeak language and right and wrong in 21st century, I will try to remember you.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

Aren't you expending just a little too much energy, vehemence and verbal pretzel making here on a simple rebuttal to a simple criticism?

It becomes clear that whether or not you are congenital idiot becomes a progressively easier question to answer the more that you type. So to that extent, your exorbitant reply is, I suppose quite useful.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

You can't follow context and I have some fun with that. You might need glasses or maybe some remedial classes at city college.

1. Reading comprehension not your bag.

2. You have no wrong answer to anything, whatever happens you you will just remake your world-view to fit it, even if you were hilariously illiterate in the first place. If I don't respond you have one comment, if I post something short you have another comment about that, whatever I comment you will have something semi-literate and doctrinaire to say. So thanks for the laugh.

I doubt you are actually out there protesting with the out of town rats, too afraid of life.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:32 pm


As Eric points out. You need to lay of the meth. You're truly losing it....

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

No wrong answer.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

Getting confused yet meat mat mut locked muttonhead?

You are just like Arthur Evans.

Have to get the last word don't you?

Go ahead...

Get it!

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

Excuse me Paul, but your Neanderthalian logic truly escapes me.

How is it, that the fact of a person being in a place contrary to written law (i.e. trespassing) has suddenly somehow made that person illegal -as- a person?

That doesn't make sense.

But that is indeed the term you are using.

So we are not only asking you to behave like a human being toward others, but we are also simply asking you to be accurate in your terminology.

Surely, you can grasp, at least that simple concept.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

NAZI's as socialists Eric gave me a chuckle.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

Whoa there sparky..! Time to lay of the meth and get some sleep.

Nazi's? Socialists?


Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

"How is it, that the fact of a person being in a place contrary to written law (i.e. trespassing) has suddenly somehow made that person illegal -as- a person?"

A person is an illegal alien if they are here illegally, your wacky remaking of accepted reality is up there with people who blather about NAZI's being socialists. It's not that hard to figure this out, you make your own world and then get worked up when people don't follow along.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

No, someone who is here illegally is simply breaking a law. That doesn't make them, as a person, illegal.

Perhaps a return to grade school would help you recall basic English.

Now, go ahead meat-mutton-mat-malfunction-head.

Get in the last word again.

You can DO it!

I BELIEVE in you!

Sadly amusing how you waited a whole day and logged in as 'Guest' in a pathetic joke-ass attempt to pretend you are not addicted to getting that last word; and so poignant, your showing that you are living in the total fantasy that you are winning debates, in which you are actually making a complete ass of yourself.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 10:45 pm


It is a crime to 'borrow' the identity of another (identity theft). It is a crime to fail to pay taxes on earned income (tax evasion). Both of these are felonies. How is the 'undocumented' individual to gain employment and earn a living in the U.S. without being guilty of either? It follows that to enter the country ILLEGALLY for purposes of employment demands that crimes were premeditated. To gain employment demands that crimes were committed.

When an individual involves herself in an illegal activity she is judged to be acting illegally. When the illegal activity is a person's presence, they are then illegal merely for existing. The transgression becomes not only what they do, but also who they are. As the two are the same.The two, the doing and the being, cannot be divorced. You may not support the law, but until you change it, it is the law.

It is no secret that Mexicans have little respect for laws, not those of their own country and certainly not those of ours. Their country exist in chaos, in bloody anarchy. This is because of their cultural disdain for the rule of law. Of course, when things get too ugly these very same 'free spirits' are more than eager to travel 'El Norte' where its not so anarchic, not so bloody. And so they leave, but in entering our country they hypocritically carry with them the same baggage which has made there motherland untenable, a disdain for law.

Do you really want a Mexico reality in your neighborhood? Just for a taste, take a mid-night stroll through East LA, or Oakland. Better yet, invite your local chapter of MS13 over for a wine and cheese nosh.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

Well 'Guest' since you seem so enamored and sure of the idea that people should not hide under a false identity, perhaps you will, right now, reveal -your- true identity instead of hiding under the name 'Guest' like the gutless racist coward that you are.

Do you have the balls to reveal your true identity as the originator of the statement above?

Of course you don't.

You clearly have no personal courage whatsoever.

You seem to be the one hiding.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

This is fantastic news! Kudos to La Raza Centro Legal, SF Day Labor Program, Orrick et al, Sup. David Campos, Renee Saucedo, Mr. Lee and everyone involved. I applaud the workers for their courage in coming forward and wish them every success with their worker-owned business.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

They claim to be so enlightened and yet are the purest examples Orwellian recreation of reality for their own ends.

Posted by Matlcok on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

The real, underlying problem is off-shoring of jobs, which has nothing to do with unregistered or undocumented immigrants. Millions of jobs have left the US Empire and are now elsewhere in the world and off-shoring is continuing. Unfortunately many people (especially the sheep) need someone to hate and scapegoat to make themselves feel better and to feel superior to others. Hate is on the rise all over the world.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

want to be paid too much relative to their value and productivity, measured on a global level. This has three implications:

1) Jobs will be "offshored", which in fact isn't a new thing at all. Jobs offshored from Europe to America 50 to 250 years ago, which is all part of why we're wealthy in the first place.

2) Immigrants (legal and illegal) will be attracted to the US because we pay artificially high wages and give artifically high benefits to workers relative to other places.

3) The dollar will decline in order to reduce US wages to a sustainable, global level.

In practice, all three of these trends will happen simultanously, as we have all seen. But the good news is that, at some point, parity will be reached. and then the offshoring, illegal immigration will ebb, and dollar devaluation will stabilize.

Until then, there's really nothing any of us can do about it as long as we insist on wanting to be paid too much for what we do and deliver. But the invisible hand of Adam Smith will achieve what well-meaning politicians will fail to do.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

American productivity is at record levels! And Smith's so-called "invisible hand" is one of the most misquoted and misunderstood phrases going. What Smith meant was that he favored domestic trade over an international economy. Finally, Immigrants (legal and undocumented) are NOT attracted to the US because of artificially high wages and benefits. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for benefits. It's even difficult for legal residents to receive benefits. While it's true that most immigrants make more they could in their home countries, that's not saying much. Their wages are generally exploitive by U.S. standards. Put down your Ayn Rand and get a clue~

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

no trend of jobs going overseas, or immigrants coming here. That trend occurs only because the rates of pay here are attractive relative to other locations - meaning that pay here is bloated and inflated.

But the market will take care of that anomaly and is taking care of it, through the mechanisms I described earlier. You and I can debate theories all day long, but the market doesn't care at all - it just keeps doing what it does, and arbitraging anomalies until they vanish.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 6:18 pm


Productivity is gauged by comparing output to input, i.e., how many man hours went into the creation of a product or an economy. The most obvious (and least observed?) measure of this country's output (its productivity) is the millions of uncounted laborers (illegals) who are not included in the accounting relative to output. They are a phantom work force.

Regarding "Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for benefits." Public education is mandated for every child regardless of immigration status. Multiply the average $7500 per child, per year this state outlays to maintain our school system, then deduct the portion of that outlay that is dedicated to the children of illegals and suddenly our education budget has a positive cash flow. Another example, emergency rooms cannot refuse to treat a person in need. When Juanita arrives at the local ER while in labor she is placed in the maternity ward and her child is born in the hospital. This is common practice and a cost on each and every community upon which this weight is a dumped. These are but two of a multitude of expenses shouldered by citizens in support of an infestation which has crippled California.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

"By paying taxes and Social Security, immigrants contribute far more to government coffers than they use in social services."

Undocumented Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions~

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children

"Among the findings:

In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children.

Immigrant households’ use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Their use of cash and housing programs tends to be similar to native households.

A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households with children is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children, who are American citizens. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants (no U.S.-born children) still had a welfare use rate of 56 percent in 2009."

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

Your narrow selective cherry picking of the negatives, is simply a deceptive denial of the actual reality that undocumented immigrants have a net positive impact on the economy and workers.

There is a great report on these strong net benefits at:

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 10:26 pm


Well that explains things. You and your fellow troll are getting your info from sites listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center~

"FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA are all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the "puppeteer" of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots. ... Tanton has for decades been at the heart of the white nationalist scene. He has met with leading white supremacists, promoted anti-Semitic ideas, and associated closely with the leaders of a eugenicist foundation once described by a leading newspaper as a "neo-Nazi organization." He has made a series of racist statements about Latinos and worried that they were outbreeding whites. At one point, he wrote candidly that to maintain American culture, "a European-American majority" is required."

"CIS has blamed immigrants, both legal and undocumented, for everything from terrorism to global warming. To make its case seem as strong as possible, CIS often manipulates data, relying on shaky statistics or faulty logic to come to the preordained conclusion that immigration is bad for this country. But CIS studies have been regularly debunked by mainstream academics and think tanks including the Immigration Policy Center, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and America's Voice" ~Fudging Facts: A Look at CIS' Studies by SPLC

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 25, 2011 @ 3:49 pm


You cite statistics by left wing-a-loons to debunk right wing-a-loons?

SPLC is as ridiculous as any right wing think tank like the Heritage Foundation.

You just prefer books cooked to your advantage.

Nothing but mindless doctrine, thats why I enjoy your posts so.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 26, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

Rory McVeigh, the Chair of the University of Notre Dame Sociology Department, wrote that "its outstanding reputation is well established, and the SPLC has been an excellent source of information for social scientists who study racist organizations." SPLC has won a number of cases against hate groups, including the United Klans of America, White Aryan Resistance, Christian Knights of the KKK, Aryan Nations, White Patriot Party, etc. Yet SPLC does not charge any legal fees to its clients, nor does it share in court-awarded judgments. In 2009, the SPLC Intelligence Project won the Public Service Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation for its “outstanding work” covering the anti-immigration movement.

As for FAIR, here's the word from ImmigrationProf Blog, whose blog editors include law professors Kevin R. Johnson, Bill O. Hing, Michael A. Scaperlanda, and Evelyn H. Cruz~

"The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics — the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories. Its political ads have caused numerous politicians, Democratic and Republican, to denounce it."

Posted by Guest on Aug. 26, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

Undocumented immigration to U.S. in sharp decline:
Miami Herald

(I can understand why. Who would want to come here to this hateful, right-wing country which says one thing and does the opposite?)

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

I would like to see more worker owned businesses and coops. Last year, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond visited Mondragon, a federation of worker cooperatives in Spain. And she is going ahead with plans to start a smaller version of worker-owned cooperatives in Richmond which has a high unemployment rate even in the best of times. I think we could do something like that here. This could be the solution to the problem of outsourcing with the permanent loss of jobs. At any rate, it would provide a welcome alternative to the current system of capitalist exploitation.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm