Tag: manicurists

Beauty Industry Group Sues Over Shop Closings

Newsom announced last week that salons could not reopen yet after revealing that the first case of known community-to-community transmission of the coronavirus in the state, in February, had been traced to a nail salon. He did not give further details about the salon or the patient.

In the lawsuit, the Professional Beauty Federation of California and others say that the order to remain closed deprives salon workers of their constitutional rights and that the classifications of “essential” vs. “nonessential” businesses are arbitrary, among other complaints.

Newsom announced last week that salons could not reopen yet after revealing that the first case of known community-to-community transmission of the coronavirus in the state, in February, had been traced to a nail salon. He did not give further details about the salon or the patient.

The revelation came in response to a reporter’s question about why salons were put in phase 3 of reopening, after parks and retail stores were allowed to reopen Friday, May 8. “This whole thing started in the state of California — the first community spread — at a nail salon,” Newson said at a news briefing. “I’m very worried about that.  Phase 3, when the salons are due to open, “may not even be more than a month away,” he said.  The February transmission occurred, he said, even though salon workers were already practicing protective measures such as wearing masks and gloves.  Before opening the salons and beauty colleges back up, he said, “We just want to make sure we have a protocol in place to secure the safety of customers, the safety of employees, and allow the business to thrive in a way that is sustainable.”

California’s shutdown that went into effect in mid-March affects barbers, aestheticians, electrologists, hair stylists, cosmetologists, and manicurists, said Fred Jones, counsel for the Professional Beauty Federation of California and a lobbyist.

He says that health and safety instruction make up a large part of the salon workers’ training.

In California, 621,742 people hold licenses from the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s laws and regulations that cover people providing salon services already require a number of health and safety measures, such as disinfecting tools and foot spas, single use of towels and robes, and personal cleanliness for workers providing services. Cheri Gyuro, a spokesperson for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, says the board is working on guidelines for COVID-19 that will be made public when they are complete.

 

Ignorance and Lack Of Over Sight From Probeauty (PBA) They Will Let The States Handle It

Realhairtruth.com

Compelled to work endless hours just to get by, the manicurists live lives that spool almost entirely within the walls of their salons. An underground economy has sprung up in Flushing and other city neighborhoods where salon workers live, to help them cope. On weekdays, women walk from door to door like Pied Pipers, taking nail salon workers’ children to school for a fee. Many manicurists pay caregivers as much as half their wages to take their babies six days a week, 24 hours a day, after finding themselves unable to care for them at night and still wake up to paint nails.  Jing Ren usually spent days sleeping in her slim pallet a few feet from the bed of her 24-year-old cousin, Xue Sun, also a manicurist. She had no time to make other friends.  She eventually started taking English classes, hoping to grasp onto a new life, but she feared the gravitational pull of this one.  “I would feel petrified,” she said, “thinking that I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.”

Low Prices, Low Pay

As far as small businesses go, it is relatively easy to open a nail salon.  Just a few thousand dollars is needed for things like pedicure chairs with whirlpool baths. Little English is required, and there are few licensing hoops to jump through. Many skip them altogether. Overhead is minimal: rent and some new bottles of polish each month — and the rock-bottom wages of workers.  Beyond the low barriers for entry, manicurists, owners and others who have closely followed the nail industry are hard pressed to say definitively why salons have proliferated.  In the 1990s, nail polish brands began to market more directly to consumers, helping to fuel demand, according to Nails Magazine. Polishes also became more sophisticated; they last longer and are easier to remove.  Census data show the number of salons in New York surged through the 2000s, far outstripping the rest of the country. Growth dimmed slightly during the recession, as lacquered nails remained an affordable treat for many, before climbing again.

But as nail salons have mushroomed, it has become harder to turn a profit, some owners said. Manicure prices have not budged much from 1990s levels, according to veteran workers. Neither have wages.  With their gleaming glass fronts, the salons seem to display their inner workings as transparently as a department store displays a holiday window. But much of how salons operate and how workers are treated is kept deliberately opaque to the outside world.  Among the hidden customs are how new manicurists get started. Most must hand over cash — usually $100 to $200, but sometimes much more — as a training fee. Weeks or months of work in a kind of unpaid apprenticeship follows.  Ms. Ren spent almost three months painting on pedicures and slathering feet with paraffin wax before one afternoon in the late summer when her boss drew her into a waxing room and told her she would finally be paid.

“I just burst into laughter unconsciously,” Ms. Ren said. “I have been working for so long while making zero money; now finally my hard work paid off.”

That night her cousins threw her a party. The next payday she learned her day wage would amount to under $3 an hour.

Step into the prim confines of almost any salon and workers paid astonishingly low wages can be readily found. At May’s Nails Salon on 14th Street in the West Village of Manhattan, where a photo of the singer Gwen Stefani with a manicurist hung on the wall, new employees must pay $100, then work unpaid for several weeks, before they are started at $30 or $40 a day, according to a worker. A man who identified himself as the owner, but would give his name only as Greg, said the salon did not charge employees for their jobs, but would not say how much they are paid.

At Sona Nails on First Avenue near Stuyvesant Town, a worker said she made $35 a day. Sona Grung, the owner of Sona Nails, denied paying below minimum wage, yet defended the practice, particularly of underpaying new workers. “When a beginner comes in, they don’t know anything, and they give you a job,” she said. “If you work in a nail salon for $35, it’s very good.”

Nail salon workers are generally considered “tipped workers” under state and federal labor laws. Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage. Overtime pay is almost unheard-of in the industry, even though workers routinely work up to 12 hours a day, six or even seven days a week.

Inside the hive of the salon, there are typically three ranks of workers. “Big Job” employees are veterans, experts at sculpting false nails out of acrylic dust. It is the most lucrative salon job, yet many younger manicurists avoid it because of the specter of serious health issues, including miscarriages and cancer, associated with inhaling fumes and clouds of plastic particles. “Medium Job” workers do regular manicures, while “Little Job” is the category of the beginners. They launder hot hand towels and sweep toenail clippings. They do work others do not want to do, such as pedicures.