Mayor Bill de Blasio may be grappling with his own labor issues at City Hall, but that is not keeping him from jumping into a private-sector labor fight involving car wash workers. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has a serious budget challenge on his hands. He needs to negotiate new contracts with the city's 152 municipal labor unions. The labor talks are looming over City Hall and threaten to blow a hole in the city's budget.
Despite that, the mayor is jumping into another labor battle, a campaign to unionize car wash workers in the city.
"It will be my honor to fight shoulder to shoulder with you," he said.
The mayor and other Democrats spoke Wednesday at an event in support of the union-organizing effort.
"What you're doing today at the car wash is something that has to happen throughout our city, a real campaign for economic justice," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
"We demonstrated with this mayor and now with this Council that our agenda is an agenda that is inclusive of everyone in the city, and particularly the workers," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
The mayor has said it is part of his job to build and support unions.
"Our mayor is not just the leader of our city, but the leader of a movement," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
"This is part of a bigger fight against inequality, a bigger fight to protect working people," de Blasio said.
Since labor organizers began their campaign two years ago, workers at eight car washes have voted to unionize, and at six, they've negotiated contracts with their employers.
Last month, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the owners of two car wash chains would have to pay about $4 million in fines to settle labor violations.