Nail salon workers angered by delays in safety regulations


Nail salon workers call for change, saying they are exposed to toxic chemicals and poor working conditions

Governor Kathy Hochul recently delayed a rule that would require nail salons to install ventilation systems that could prevent manicurists and clients from inhaling harmful chemicals.

Members of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition are calling out Governor Hochul, saying she’s not protecting workers. Executive Director Charlene Obernauer said she has advocated for legislation to improve conditions for nail salon workers, recently pushing for the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act.

Obernauer says the law would create a council of nail salon employees, small business owners and state officials to set industry-wide wage, safety and labor standards .

In a tweet posted Thursday by the coalition, they wrote, among other things: “In response to the heroic organizing of New York City nail salon workers for better conditions, New York State has concluded that new ventilation standards were necessary to protect workers. That was half a decade ago. Nail technicians in our state can no longer afford to wait for basic measures to protect themselves from toxic chemicals.

She says the delay is an example of how workers are exploited at work due to low wages and poor working conditions and the inability to negotiate or even have a conversation with the leaders in power.

Obernauer says the delay is even more problematic because of COVID-19.

She says good ventilation helps reduce exposure to the virus while working.

The State Department said it issued emergency regulations to give businesses an additional six months to comply with those ventilation standards. They say it will be extended until October 4th.


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