OIA Grantee Spotlight: California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative

Respiratory issues. Adverse birth effects. Cancer.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these are some of the health hazards that nail salon workers can suffer when exposed over time to chemicals found in nail salon products.

In California, most nail salon workers are people of color and of lower socioeconomic status, making nail salon workers’ exposure to chemicals in the workplace “an environmental justice issue,” says the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

“The industry is made up of mostly small businesses, with 90 percent of salons having fewer than 10 employees,” Lisa Fu, executive director of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, told CNM in an interview. “Due to industry competition, employers are expected to provide services at low costs… [workers] regularly experience labor violations including wage theft or misclassification.”

With more than 1,000 workers and owners and more than 50 leaders, the Collaborative advocates for the health, safety, and rights of the Vietnamese nail salon community through political education, skill-building, and grassroots policy advocacy.

The nail salon industry was particularly affected by COVID-19. From surveys conducted by the Collaborative and the UCLA Labor Center, nail salon workers reported not receiving hazard pay and experiencing a reduction in earnings due to “reduced hours, customer flow, and tips, as well as increased worker costs for PPE.” During that time, the Collaborative served as a crucial resource for immigrant nail salon workers.

In the aftermath of the pandemic and racial justice crisis, the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative looks to the future on how it can transform the health and working conditions of low-wage immigrant workers through movement building and advocacy.

imageedit 64 9453220587 OIA Grantee Spotlight: California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative

A grantee of the 2022 Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) grant program, the organization is advancing staff leadership development, strategic communications, and internal communications. With renewed communication strategies, the Collaborative is reaffirming its focus on racial justice and equity, Black/Asian solidarity, and labor and employment rights, all to ensure a just and healthy economic recovery for the immigrant beauty care workforce.

To learn more, visit the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative’s website.

Are you an immigrant-focused nonprofit that provides legal and/or case management services?

CNM is now accepting applications for the 2023 OIA Grant Program, focusing on immigrant-serving organizations. To learn more, sign up for tomorrow’s virtual information session – Thursday, September 28 – and find information about criteria and deadlines here.

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