Manicurists raise their voices in New York. The union demands an improvement in working conditions and access to social protection.
These workers, mostly migrants, denounce long hours without overtime pay, a wage below the minimum and conditions that are detrimental to their health.
The mobilizations began about a month ago and the State of New York is expected to comply with their demands in an imminent change of law.
“We want to say publicly that we’re not in a comfortable work situation where we work now. And that’s why we’re barely surviving in this world, because we’ve never… we’ve never been able to say that we really feel like we’re in America,” says Pabitra Dash, a former manicurist. at protests in Manhattan.
They not only demand compliance with the minimum wage of $15 per hour, but also better access to protective gloves and masks. Maya Bhusal recounts the consequences of the trade:
“I have had skin and lung problems for a long time. I cough a lot and also have breathing problems. When I go to see my doctor, he tells me that my lung problem is because I have been inhaling all these chemicals when I work in salons. I also feel irritation and itching of the skin and my doctor insists that the conditions of my work are the cause of these problems”, explained a Nepalese manicurist.
Manicure has become the new artistic expression of the moment. The increasingly unusual and colorful designs are created by these artists who live in anonymity. They do not want fame but they do want recognition before the law.
They are usually women who have come from Asia or Latin America to start a new life in the United States.
New York State has identified more than 1,800 nail salon labor law violations and has ordered owners to pay $2 million in back wages and damages.