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How nail salon workers fell from the cracks in the hidden reliefs of the United States

How nail salon workers fell from the cracks in the hidden reliefs of the United States

All of these tensions are adding up. Tony Nguyen, coordinator of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative program, said back pay is increasing and fewer jobs. Older women, in particular, are worried that they will not be called back to work. Others are worried that they won’t be able to say no, even if they feel safe because they don’t have the vaccines.

“[There are] people who are returning to work because they had a large amount of debt, ”says Prarthana Gurung, Adhikaar’s campaign and communications manager, a non-profit Adhika who works with New York nail salon staff. I have to feed the children. ”

Security is not a theoretical concern. “You’ll be working there for eight or 10 hours,” Nguyen says. “Some customers don’t like wearing masks.”

He says these painful opportunities also affect owners because they may be forced to close their doors.

“They don’t see the future,” he says.

Barriers to accessing aid

When nail salons closed, most employees also lost their risk of illness due to a salary. “Immediately when the blockade happened, you went to an entire industry [to] 100% unemployment, ”says Gurung.

Some employees got the right to get covert government support, but first they had to go to a website and register online. These types of tasks were “almost impossible” for some New York nail technicians, Gurung says, because digital literacy and skills are limited or because they speak languages ​​that are less common in the U.S. Adhikaar serves workers from Nepal, Tibet, India and other places.

“There was a big gap in terms of information,” says Gurung, “and people didn’t get the resources on time or didn’t realize what benefits they could get.”

Precarious immigration status makes financial aid even more difficult. Many New York nail salon workers have no paperwork in the U.S., which means they are not eligible for stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, and other benefits. The NY Nail Salon Workers Association, a member of the Workers United union, surveyed more than 1,000 members, most of them Latinos, and more than 81% said they were left out of government support in the pandemic.

Low priority

Nail salon technicians, along with other staff like in personal care salons and salons, have been working in person for months, often with a few faces from clients. However, them they were not defaulted For New York vaccinations, unlike grocery store employees, distributor drivers, or nonprofit employees who help provide service to nail salon workers. Many are now eligible for appointments for more age groups.

But even with the widening of eligibility, it is still challenging to get doses to nail workers for language barriers, technical barriers, and so on.

“In Nepalese culture, we talk about the opening of the third eye. There is a level of awareness that has really happened in the last nine months and a year. “

Prarthana Gurung, Adhikaar campaign and communications manager

“It will take a lot of effort, organization and education for our community to get vaccinated,” said Luis Gomez, chief executive of the Workers United NY / NJ Joint Board, who commissioned research into nail salon infections. “We need more local vaccination sites in the communities most affected, direct outreach in people’s native languages, support for the vaccine designation process, and meaningful education to address vaccine misinformation.”

Although promised to be widely available, vaccines have become very popular it’s hard to come by For many in the U.S., especially for the working class of color. Although the number of blacks, whites, and Latinos who want to be shot is similar, differences in the vaccine rates remain the same.

This gap must be urgently closed to prevent serious illness and death. Araceli, a member of the nail salon workers ’association, is the only mother of two boys based on her income. Getting vaccinated would mean having a little more safety and control to control whether your work can be life-threatening.

“As employees, we deserve to be considered‘ indispensable ’because we go to work like any other person,” he says.

How employees move forward

To address these issues, New York lawmakers are providing details of the law Excluded Employees Fund, an ambitious plan that would award unemployment benefits to those who had not previously qualified. Some workers are on hunger strike today, and state lawmakers are essentially demanding a $ 3.5 billion commitment. Proponents say nail industry workers can be better protected beyond the pandemic through legislation such as NY Hero Act and the Nail Salon Accounts Act.

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