Mónica Novoa, NYCOSH
NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition Praises Cuomo’s Initiative, Highlights Need for Additional Inspectors and Public Health Education
New York, New York – May 11, 2015. The NY Healthy Nail Salon Coalition, led by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health and Adhikaar, praised Governor Cuomo’s executive order on nail salon workers, but called for additional details on the Task Force and an increase in the number of statewide inspectors. Workers want regulations around wages, chemicals and ventilation. In supporting healthy jobs with dignity, the members of our coalition want to ensure systemic industry shifts include deep employer engagement and public health education, preventing tremendous job loss.
“We are encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s initiative to prevent wage theft and control health hazards in nail salons,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health “However, all agencies working together in a Task Force to address this issue does not add additional staffing to actually monitor health and safety in the salons. Additional inspectors on the ground will be critical for the success of any program.”
There are tens of thousands of nail salon workers throughout New York who are exposed every day to dangerous health hazards on the job. Workers earn between $35 and $80 a day, and cases of wage theft are all too common. The majority of the work is done by immigrants from a multitude of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, mostly Latina and Asian women. Making nail salons safer and healthier for women workers and customers is a public health and human rights issue that has been advanced across California and in cities like Seattle and Boston. We need enforcement and inspections at the state and City level, especially in New York City where nail salons in the State are concentrated.
The Coalition supported Governor Cuomo’s multilingual education program and agreed with the need to educate workers and the general public about the hazards in nail salons. The Coalition also highlighted existing problems with language access for nail salon workers.
“Through no fault of their own, many nail salon workers are unable to obtain permanent licenses because the licensing exam is not offered in their language,” said Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar.
“We anxiously await additional details on this initiative, and would call for advocacy organizations to also be included in the Task Force to inform recommendations moving forward,” concluded a statement on the Coalition’s Facebook page.
New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition 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 raise our voices and take collective action against injustice through organizing, community education, grassroots advocacy and leadership development.
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health is a non-profit coalition that works to extend and defend every workers right to a safe workplace.