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A new video released by the AFL-CIO Monday chronicles the story of Oscar Sanchez, a car wash worker in California who recently won improvements to his working conditions and lifestyle after the United Steelworkers launched the Clean Carwash Campaign to organize and assist employees at Los Angeles car washes. Prior to the campaign, the workers were forced to work long hours in extremely arduous and difficult conditions and sick workers were required to work for fear of losing their jobs. Many developed chronic diseases and environmental health conditions.
Now they have a union contract that improves their conditions and workers were encouraged to participate in the union drive because the United Steelworkers, through the campaign, were able to offer workers health care and make sure that they could go to a clinic if they got sick. The union became the health care provider for workers who couldn't otherwise see doctors. Organizers behind the campaign referred to it as a "values-based coalition" and this is a great example of the type of work that unions can do not only to help working families, but also to help broaden their coalitions and appeal to traditionally non-union families.