State regulators have cracked down on L.A.-area businesses in the garment and car wash industries, levying more than $200,000 in fines, according to announcements released Tuesday.
In the larger crackdown, a team of state and federal labor investigators conducted a sweep of 21 L.A.-area garment businesses and fined 14 of them a total of $183,600 for violations, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime and failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance coverage.
The sweep, aimed at exposing businesses in the underground economy, was conducted on Dec. 10 and 11.
Meanwhile, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued $25,000 in fines against the owners of two car washes that have been the target of union organizing campaigns. The fines, for "serious" health and safety violations, were levied against Benny and Nisan Pirian, the owners of Hollywood Car Wash and Vermont Hand Wash.
Among the violations cited: exposed moving parts on the car conveyor line at the Vermont Hand Wash and failure to provide emergency eye-wash stations at both car washes.
"Serious injuries or even fatal accidents can be caused by this kind of work if employers fail to protect employees from the types of hazards we found," said Cal-OSHA chief Len Welsh.
Reached by phone, Nisan Pirian said the company was considering appealing the Cal-OSHA fine but said he had no further comment.
For years, union organizers have targeted these two car washes and four others owned by the Pirians in what has become an increasingly bitter campaign. Union officials have alleged numerous wage and hour violations, as well as intimidation from management.
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