FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 18, 2015
Mónica Novoa, NYCOSH
NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition Calls Gov. Cuomo’s Actions to Protect Nail Salon Workers “Groundbreaking” and “Precedent Setting”
New York State Would Become National Leader with Regulations Package that Covers Occupational Health, Wages and Licensing
New York, New York – The NY Healthy Nail Salon Coalition, led by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) and Adhikaar, called Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation on nail salons “groundbreaking” and “precedent setting”.
Tens of thousands of nail salon workers throughout New York are exposed every day to dangerous health hazards on the job, and wage theft is prevalent in the industry. The Governor’s comprehensive plan focuses on three core areas:
- Health and safety for both workers and consumers through regulations on ventilation and personal protective equipment,
- Accessible licenses for nail salon workers, the majority of whom are immigrant women;
- Increased penalties and scrutiny of nail salons that violate the law in an effort to curb wage and hour violations.
“The New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition applauds the Governor for moving forward groundbreaking new regulations and legislation to create healthy, just nail salons in New York. With this action, he has helped move the needle on workers’ rights, public health, and racial justice in New York State,” the Coalition wrote in a statement.
Making nail salons safer and healthier for women workers and customers has been labeled a public health and human rights issue, and has been advanced across California and in cities like Seattle and Boston. Gov. Cuomo’s package of reforms, public education, and increased enforcement would make New York the leader on occupational and public health regulations in nail salons.
“NYCOSH applauds the Governor for moving forward groundbreaking new regulations to create healthy nail salons in New York. Ventilation systems are critical to reducing levels of toxic exposure in nail salons, both for workers and consumers; and personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators are essential protection for nail salon workers,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of NYCOSH.
“Adhikaar applauds the Governor for moving to address egregious conditions that exist in the nail salon industry. In particular, we are excited by his efforts to improve language access to licensing exams for our members—Nepali and Tibetan workers—and to create an apprenticeship program to make licenses easier to obtain, which will help protect vulnerable workers and provide better job opportunities,” said Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar.
“New York Lawyers for the Public Interest praises Governor Cuomo for his swift and important actions to raise employment standards in the nail salon industry, reduce workers’ exposure to harmful chemicals, and ensure safe and healthy workplaces. We look forward to working with the Governor on these important initiatives,” said Rachel Spector, Environmental Justice Attorney, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
“The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum commends Governor Cuomo for his actions to improve safety in nail salons and strengthen protections for nail salon workers.
We hope that Gov. Cuomo’s New York solutions become a national model for improving the quality of nail salon jobs,” said Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
“The NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo’s Multi-Agency Task Force to educate workers, employers, and customers about their rights and obligations, ensure effective enforcement of the new regulations, and advance the newly introduced legislation,” the Coalition statement concluded.
New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, led by NYCOSH and Adhikaar, is comprised of nail salon workers, advocates, and customers working together to create a healthy, just nail salon industry.
Adhikaar, meaning rights, is a women-led non-profit organizing Nepali-speaking communities to take collective action against injustice through organizing, community education, grassroots advocacy and leadership development.
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is a non-profit coalition-based organization that works to extend and defend every workers right to a safe workplace.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest is a non-profit law firm working to advance equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar.
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum is a national non-profit organization with 15 local chapters across the United States, working to advance social justice and human rights for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls.