In response to last week’s New York Times reports about the dangerous work conditions, low pay, and racism running rampant in New York nail salons, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late Sunday a series of “emergency measures” and vowed that the state would no longer “stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”
According to the Times, a task force will make “salon-by-salon investigations” and “institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights”:
Salons will be required to publicly post signs that inform workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages or to pay money for a job — a common practice in the nail salon industry, according to workers and owners. The signs will be in half a dozen languages, including those most spoken in the industry — Korean, Chinese and Spanish.
Additional measures, intended to become permanent in the coming months, Cuomo said Sunday, include requiring workers to wear protective gear like gloves and masks and that salons be properly ventilated—and salons will now be required to be bonded in order to ensure fair pay.
Sarah Maslin Nir’s Times reports, published last Thursday and Friday, were the result of “more than 100” interviews conducted in multiple languages and painted a grim portrait of an industry overwhelmingly made up of exploited immigrants who work long hours in hazardous conditions for little or no pay.