Nail sa­lon own­ers protest in New York

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By HEZI JIANG in New York hez­i­jiang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Hun­dreds of Chi­nese in New York’s nail sa­lon in­dus­try ral­lied in front of The New York Times build­ing on Tues­day, protest­ing state leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing nail sa­lon own­ers to pur­chase wage bonds and de­nounc­ing ar­ti­cles in the news­pa­per that led to new reg­u­la­tions for sa­lons.

Tues­day was the last day to pur­chase the wage bond or the own­ers faced sig­nif­i­cant fines. The bond is a form of in­sur­ance to cover claims for un­paid wages of nail sa­lon work­ers. Gover­nor An­drew Cuomo or­dered the in­sur­ance on Aug 10 af­ter the Times re­ported in May that the nail sa­lon in­dus­try is rife with worker abuse, in­clud­ing fre­quent theft of wages.

“Mom-pop stores. Own­ers are work­ers,” the de­mon­stra­tors shouted in English. Most of the protesters wore white T-shirts on which was printed “No Wage Bond. Stop Squeez­ing Small Busi­ness!”

In in­ter­views with

a re­porter from China Daily USA, de­mon­stra­tors said in Chi­nese that the in­sur­ance bond would hurt their busi­nesses.

“We are mom- and- pop shops, and the nail busi­ness slows down dur­ing the win­ter. The wage bond will kill our shops,” said Hong Bin, one of the or­ga­niz­ers and the owner of the Chloe Sa­lon in Brook­lyn. “Work­ers can just go file claims and get money from us.”

“Most of the Chi­nese nail sa­lon own­ers in New York are here,” said Hong. “Some even came from up­state.”

When asked if she owned a sa­lon, Lina Li said: “To­day I do. But I don’t know about to­mor­row.”

“One of my 2,000-squarefoot shops now only has three work­ers. I’m pay­ing $13,000 for rent,” said Zhong Mei, who said she owns three Man­hat­tan nail sa­lons. “Be­cause of the crack­downs, some work­ers are afraid to work in sa­lons.’’

Many of the protesters held signs crit­i­ciz­ing the Times’ ex­pose of the sa­lon in­dus­try.

“Apol­ogy Now! Fire Nir!’’ read one sign; another read, “NYT Please Don’t Lie!’’

In re­sponse to the protesters, a Times spokesper­son said that the news­pa­per “is ex­tremely proud of Sarah Nir’s two- part se­ries on la­bor abuses and dan­ger­ous work­ing con­di­tions in New York City’s nail sa­lons’’.

The Korean Amer­i­can Nail Sa­lon As­so­ci­a­tion of New York and the Chi­nese Nail Sa­lon As­so­ci­a­tion of East Amer­ica have filed a law­suit against Cuomo and the state of New York to block the wage bond re­quire­ment.

HEZI JIANG / CHINA DAILY

Hun­dreds of Chi­nese in New York’s nail sa­lon in­dus­try rally in front of The New York Times build­ing on Tues­day to protest state leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing nail sa­lon own­ers to pur­chase in­sur­ance to pro­tect work­ers from wage theft.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.