New York is taking baby steps toward turning the tide against the abhorrent working conditions, flagrant abuses and health risks manicurists in the state face each and every day. After that eye-opening exposé in The New York Times detailing the sweatshop-like conditions salon workers are forced to endure, both the city and state of New York have been looking for ways to correct the issue.
We are now beginning to see some reforms to the nail salon system. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed a new poster outlining salon workers’ bill of rights, which is required to be on display in every nail salon in the state starting this week. The posters, which will be available in 10 languages, cover wage and tipping regulations that employers are obligated to honor, including rules against making new manicurists pay for training and keeping employees from wearing gloves and masks to protect them from the chemicals found in nail products.
The state will also hand out cards for customers in order to help them judge if the salon they are patronizing is treating its workers fairly. A checklist, which includes checking for the salon business license and posting of the new bill of rights in plain view, will be distributed to consumers. Gov. Cuomo is hoping to get the customers involved, encouraging people who notice violations to “walk out the door, go down the block, patronize another business.”
It seems like a small step, but it is an important one. By promoting awareness to both manicurists and patrons, hopefully the abuses that have occurred for so long in the industry will end once and for all. It is great to see that New York is being diligent in correcting these injustices.