In his ongoing response to The New York Times exposé on worker exploitation in nail salons, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced Friday a nail salon worker's Bill of Rights. As part of his Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force initiatives, going forward, all nail salons in New York will be required to post the workers Bill of Rights in plain view — for workers and consumers to see.
The downloadable card and accompanying consumer brochure is available in 10 languages, including English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish, and starts with a list of five questions that customers should ask their salons:
1. Are workers paid at least the minimum wage and overtime?
2. Is appropriate protective equipment (respirator mask, gloves, eye protection) provided to workers and used?
3. Is there adequate ventilation (no strong chemical odors)?
4. Is the salon business license posted in plain view?
5. Is the Nail Salon Workers’ Bill of Rights posted in plain view?
The Bill of Rights clearly details minimum wage, employer violations and safety requirements, plus states that all employees have these rights, regardless of immigration status.
“We are calling on New Yorkers to use their power as consumers to patronize nail salons who treat employees fairly, and boycott those unscrupulous businesses who profit by exploiting their workers," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "There is an underground economy that thrives on workers who are overworked, underpaid and powerless. It's nail salons today — but every business out there should know we are watching and we will not tolerate the mistreatment of any worker in New York State.”
The campaign efforts also include the debut of a nail salon safety website at ny.gov/nailsalonsafety, which offers safe practices information to workers (so far in English only), consumers and salon owners, the aforementioned downloadable cards in various languages, the latest news on nail salon safety, and the option to submit your own thoughts and stories on the subject. There is also, of course, a hashtag to generate awareness on social media: #NailSalonSafety.