Underpaid car wash workers to receive $2.2 million

car wash protest
The owners of popular car wash chains must pay hundreds of their workers more than $2.2 million for underpaid wages.
Credit: Make the Road/Flickr

Owners of a series of New York City car wash chains must pay hundreds of their workers more than $2.2 million for underpaid wages.

The news came after a settlement was reached between the owners and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who hailed today’s as a message to workers that the state has their back.

“These agreements will ensure that the car washes clean up their acts to comply with the law,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “And they ensure that New York businesses who play by the rules can do so on a level playing field.”

Backpay for about 1,000 workers isn’t the only cost to the car wash operators, who would skimp on worker’s owed time for overtime and breaks. They must also pay $513,000 to the state Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Division and about $1.2 million to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

In total, John Lage, Michael Lage and Fernando Magalhaes — who combined owned some 21 locations around the five boroughs — will pay out some $3.9 million.

That, however, doesn’t include whatever it will cost for the owners to arrange an independent monitor their for up to three years and reporting results to Schneiderman’s office.

“We have won money that this company had stolen from our wages, which sends a strong message to all car wash owners that the days of abuse and exploitation are over,” said car washer Miguel Portillo in a statement. “Today, justice was served.”

Local politicians who have previously supported alongside many of the city’s car wash workers — largely made up of members from various immigrant communities — stood alongside the attorney general today.

“It’s hard enough to make it in New York,” said Public Advocate Letitia Lames. “To do so while your hard-earned wages are being stolen is unimaginable.”

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.