In response to the horrifying New York Times articles outlining the woeful conditions manicurists in New York are forced to endure – including wage theft, racism and health risks associated with the job – Governor Cuomo is taking emergency action against the salon industry in the state.
Not only will the Governor dispatch a group to investigate salons to make sure they are not violating workers’ rights, but New York will implement a new set of rules to ensure that workers are at least minimally protected from the chemicals in nail products that many believe are having adverse effects on the health of manicurists.
“New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on, and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”
Amongst the reforms, salons will be required to post a bill of rights for workers in several languages. Manicurists must wear gloves and masks to help protect them from nail product chemicals. Salons will have to sign contracts with bonding agencies to make sure underpaid workers are given their due. Salons will also be required to pay back wages for underpaid manicurists or be shut down if they fail to do so.
It might have taken a startling exposé for the government to finally sit up and pay attention to the regular abuses salon workers have to face, but hopefully by implementing these rules and attempting a mass overhaul of the industry in New York, manicurists will no longer have to endure unfair and illegal practices.