"A Year Ago, NYC Nail Salons Closed. What Happened to the Workers?"
The nail salon industry was devastated by the pandemic, and its workers—80% women of color—bore the brunt of that heavy economic, physical, and mental burden. In a new Allure piece, labor reporter Kim Kelly takes a deep dive into a recent report that shows just how grim the situation became, as well as the current status of nail techs for whom "returning to "normal" too often means stolen wages and health risks.
"Laxmi Yadav*, a Nepali nail salon technician and member of Adhikaar, a New York-based non-profit that organizes for human rights and social justice causes in the Nepali-speaking community, characterized the situation as "an emergency for everyone." (Adhikaar, the New York Nail Salon Workers Association, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, and the NY-NJ Regional Joint Board, Workers United, make up the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, which advocates for workers and worker-friendly policy bills like the Nail Salon Accountability Act and the recently-passed NY HERO Act). She was able to get unemployment and her husband, a warehouse worker, continued to go to work, but their family struggled as the pandemic worsened."
"'There was fear that he would get sick on the job, but he had to continue working to support our family,' she tells Allure. 'I couldn't immediately find other work because we were afraid of even going outside, I heard sirens all the time. When I finally was able to go back to looking for work, I found work at two different salons because the hours were not enough and the money wasn't enough. One of the salons then quickly shut down because of slow business. I love working in nails, so I don't want to leave and I'm proud of being a technician, but it's hard to continue due to what is happening now.'" Read more in Allure!