The Shocking Human Rights Cost Of A Cheap Manicure

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
The New York Times reports New York City salons treats workers like slaves.

nail salon

An appalling investigation by the New York Times reveals the shocking human rights abuses New York City salon workers experience.

Your current manicurist is treated like a slave and the conditions have gone largely unregulated by government authorities. Wages are extremely low for these workers with

 “more than 100 workers interviewed by The Times, only about a quarter said they were paid an amount that was the equivalent of New York State’s minimum hourly wage. All but three workers, however, had wages withheld in other ways that would be considered illegal, such as never getting overtime.”

The racial caste system in salons (with Koreans occupying the top spot and Hispanics at the lowest tier) allows Koreans to get the first pick for jobs and earn double that of their co-workers. Workers on the lowest rung are subject to verbal and physical abuse and humiliating practices.

“Lhamo Dolma, 39, a manicurist from Tibet who goes by Jackey, recalled a former job at a Brooklyn salon where she had to eat lunch every day standing in a kitchenette with the shop’s other non-Korean workers, while her Korean counterparts ate at their desks.”

Getting your nails done has become an essential beauty routine pastime for so many American women as any casual Saturday is spent with our feet soaked staring at our iPads without even murmuring a hello to the manicurist other than to say which color. And while any modern metropolitan woman splurges for an impressive set of nails, in New York City cost isn’t even an issue. The city boasts the cheapest manicures in the country despite the high cost for rent. Hopefully this expose encourages salon-goers to organize for better practices and stricter regulation or at least give better tips.

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