The CLEAN carwash initiative: Building worker power and fighting austerity through community and workplace organizing.

Avendaño, Ana, and Charlie Fanning.

Labor Studies Journal 39, no. 2 (2014): 101-117.


Since 2008, the CLEAN (Community, Labor, Environmental Action Network) Carwash Initiative, in collaboration with numerous community groups, has sought to transform Los Angeles’s expansive, low-rent carwash industry, build a sustainable, long-term presence in South LA, where most of the carwasheros live and work, and establish a self-sustaining United Steelworkers’ local to lift up both the industry and the community. This paper places the initiative within the growing transnational conversation on alternative forms of worker representation and labor’s responses to declining union density, power, and anti-worker fiscal austerity. It explores the initiative’s unique institutional structures and its efforts to preserve public services and expand health care access for carwash workers.

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