updated 2/11/2009 7:31:21 AM ET 2009-02-11T12:31:21

Los Angeles prosecutors have accused car-wash owners of dirty employee practices.

The city attorney's office filed 176 charges Monday against Benny and Nissan Pirian, their manager Manuel Reyes and their businesses.

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo claimed workers were treated almost like "indentured servants" at four washes in Hollywood, Northridge and the Los Feliz area.

They allegedly worked without overtime pay, rest or lunch breaks, drank water from a washing machine, received no proper medical treatment for cuts and burns, and were harassed if they tried to unionize.

The Pirians face nearly 86 years each in jail if convicted.

Reyes, who is accused of using a machete and a baton to threaten workers and unionizers, faces 2 1/2 years in jail if convicted.

A call to an attorney for the owners wasn't immediately returned.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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