New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking a stand on the bad conditions that workers receive in nail salons. He has pointed out that true change can only come from New Yorkers themselves and that they should ask the owners of the nail salons they go to a few important questions and boycott those salons that do not respect their workers.
On Friday Gov. Cuomo and Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, have unveiled the placards that contain the bill of rights that every nail salon worker has, that will become a requirement that every salon will have to meet, effective immediately.
The manicurists’ rights will have to be displayed in a place where they can be clearly seen by customers and workers alike. These include information regarding their right to a salary that amounts to at least the minimum wage, their right to be payed for overtime, their right to work in safe environment and the right to not be punished in any way for complaining to the owner of the poor work conditions.
Gov. Cuomo explained just how important it is for New Yorkers to get implicated in this matter. By taking the time to find out if the nail salon of their choice respect their workers’ rights, they can actively contribute in repairing this situation.
If the nail salon is in fact one of those who respect their employees, then it is actually benefic to this situation that it is kept working, as it could thrive and create better conditions for its workers, or even create new jobs in the future.
However, if the nail salon cannot prove that they respect their manicurists, then would be of great help to boycott them and simply chose another salon, that will meet the correct standards.
There are over 3,300 nail salon in New York, so it is never a problem replacing one that does bad business and that is mistreating its employees.
The boom that this line of business has seen is caused by the ever-growing importance that is put on looks by the current society. But since the costs of a facility that specializes on manicures and pedicures only is exponentially lower than that of a hair salon or waxing salon, more and more of them have sprung on the streets of New York.
And precisely in order to lower the costs even more, nail salon owners usually employ illegal immigrants as manicurists that do amazing work and lots of it for almost no pay.The abuse does not stop here, as in so many cases, these immigrants are forced to work extremely long hours in inadequate conditions.
Therefore, these workers are forced to spend long hours with no protection for the chemicals that are released by the nail polish and the other materials that they work with and all too often the ventilation is improper or even absent.
The placards introduced by Gov. Cuomo will be translated into 10 foreign languages, including Korean, Chinese and Spanish, as the majority of these workers do not even speak English.
Gov. Cuomo has made it perfectly clear that the rights displayed on the placard are in no way optional to the owner, and that they apply to each and every worker, regardless of their immigration status. Furthermore, he pointed out that the salary that is offered to the manicurists does not constitute an act of good will conducted by the owner, but in fact his legal obligation.
Hopefully, New Yorkers will join Gov. Cuomo’s movement and boycott those nail salons that are not treating their workers well enough. Ultimately, getting a manicure constitutes a luxury and it is common sense that it should not come from somebody who is riddled in misery.
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