Nail Salon Program: #AllHandsIn for a Fair and Equitable Industry
Organizing and Advocacy
We are #ALLHANDSIN 2022 and beyond! In January, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, and the NY Healthy Nail Salon Coalition introduced the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act in the New York state legislature, the first bill of its kind in the United States for nail salon workers.
If passed, the act would create a state-level council of workers, employers, and government officials that would recommend ways to improve the nail salon industry across New York. It also would create a price minimum committee that would propose a new pricing model to raise standards so that both workers and employers can benefit. Over the last two years, Adhikaar’s member leaders have been an integral part of this campaign starting from brainstorming the bill to planning the campaign and bringing visibility to improvements needed in the nail salon industry. In the last quarter, 30 new leaders from Ridgewood, Queens, and Brooklyn joined the Adhikaar Nail Salon Workers Association’s steering committee and built out a broader campaign committee for #AllHandsIn.
To raise awareness of the bill and highlight its significance as a catalyst for sectoral approaches to improve labor standards, Adhikaar along with NY Healthy Nail Salon Coalition organized a virtual discussion titled “Trailblazing Change from NY Nail Salons to CA Fast Food” with workers, electeds and partner organizations in February. Our member leader Sweta Thakali spoke on why the bill holds the answers to lifting up the industry.
At the beginning of the year, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs highlighted our Nail Salon Fellow Sabita Lama as part of their public art ad campaign at bus stops and subway stops around NYC to highlight the city’s essential workers.
Building Power of our Members through Training and Services
It’s been a busy spring full of workforce development classes at Adhikaar for nail technicians. In the last quarter, 19 members across two batches (13th and 14th batches) completed the 26 Hour Nail Salon licensing course, conducted through the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) Beauty School. The most recent cohort had a 100% pass rate despite limited literacy. Following the course, our members voted for three of their peers to represent them on the Workers Association leadership steering committee.
We provided licensing services and language support to 450+ nail technicians to apply for new licenses and renew licenses. We also supported members with job preparation and placement and conducted one-on-one and group check-ins with 500+ members over the last quarter.
Because we believe in leadership development, in February five of our member leaders attended the Training of Trainers (ToT) for the 26 Hour Course and became facilitators. As a result, we are ready to begin offering the practical half of the licensing course within Adhikaar.
In February, six of our member leaders received spokesperson training to sharpen their skills and become storytellers in preparation for the campaign and to recruit and motivate other members to join. In the spring quarter, we organized general meetings for 20 members (workers and nail salon owners) and conducted an in-person retreat with 11 members of the steering committee to reflect on the previous year and plan for the upcoming #AllHandsIn campaign.
In the last quarter, we engaged in community outreach across all our programs to ensure that all members received health support and services. Through our immigration and worker’s rights membership work and events as well as on social media, we continue to educate our members on COVID-19 booster shots, vaccine awareness, health insurance, and the NYC Care program.
Please call Adhikaar at (718) 937-1117 if you have any questions related to health insurance, vaccines, or the NYC Care program.
We are thrilled to share that we restarted our popular “English For Empowerment” (EFE) classes after two years of a pause due to the pandemic. The EFE classes follow MOIA’s ‘We Speak NYC’ curriculum and have been customized by our team to incorporate other topics such as workers’ rights, basics of U.S. government, and other relevant practical skills and information. As the pandemic unfolded, we saw shifts in the Domestic Work and Nail Salon industries and changes in the ways our members navigate work and home. Given these shifts, this year we developed an industry-specific EFE curriculum for Domestic Workers and Nail Salon workers that strengthens their knowledge of rights and English capacity for the workplace. This year’s 100% of our pilot courses are facilitated by workers themselves as peer facilitators. At the time of enrollment, we had 111 students, amongst which 54 are Domestic Workers and 57 are Nail Salon Workers.
On the Know Your Rights front, to further educate and create awareness among members on immigration enforcement and labor laws in New York state, we conducted 11 Know-Your-Rights sessions in Nepali with over 220 members, with resources provided by MOIA and the Legal Aid Society. Through these KYR sessions, we integrated a food coupons distribution and distributed 60 food coupons to families and individuals in need, provided by the New York Immigration Coalition.
Thanks to the generous support of Council Members Julie Won, Shekhar Krishnan, and partner organization New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), we were able to distribute masks, hand sanitizer, and COVID-19 antigen testing kits to our community members.
Adhikaar in the News
- The Guardian, “Long hours, dangerous chemicals: nail salon workers fight for industry change”
- More Perfect Union, “Nail Salon Workers Are Exploited. A New Bill Could Change That”
- Politico, “Why it’s not so easy to seize oligarch real estate”
- Law 360, “New York, Calif. Bills Would Give Nonunion Workers More Say”
- Univision Nueva York, “Manicuristas permanecen en la lucha para exigir mejores condiciones laborales y un salario justo en Nueva York”
- Manhattan Times “Together we will win”