Legislative Intent: Protecting the Industry

What’s the incentive to comply with regulations if no one’s held accountable? When government recognizes exploitation and unsafe working conditions in the beauty industry, the response should be legislation, education, and enforcement that directly addresses the problem. In our first interview with an elected official, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz of New York explains how she gives voice to her constituents with a proposed bill that could transform our industry.

Show Notes


Nail Salon Accountability Act

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz of New York (AD-39)

Race to the Bottom: Low Prices & Stolen Wages in NY’s Nail Salon Industry

New York Times (5/7/15) – The Price of Nice Nails

New York Nail Salon Workers Association

NYCOSH (New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health)

One Fair Wage



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Edited for length and clarity.


ASHLEY: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Ashley Gregory Hackett.

JAIME: And Jaime Schrabeck. While reports of wage theft and unsafe working conditions in the beauty industry generate publicity, why does the exploitation continue and what more needs to be done?

ASHLEY: We’re honored to welcome our first ever elected guest Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz of New York, sponsor of the Nail Salon Accountability Act. Let’s grow together.   

JAIME: Welcome to Outgrowth, Assemblywoman Cruz.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Thank you so much for having me today.

JAIME: We’ve been very eager to have this conversation with you ever since we read the Race to the Bottom report produced by the New York Nail Salon Workers Association and watched the press conference. That was back in February.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Yeah. You know that report was a very telling picture of where the nail salon industry has been for a very long time. Now, unfortunately post-COVID, we’re looking at an even harsher reality for the workers, and for the owners too, but we’re trying to figure out now, how do we help people move forward.

JAIME: As beauty professionals, we don’t often consider our state legislators allies who understand our industry. How does your personal background and professional work inform your efforts to protect salon workers?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Look, I think my history with the industry is a little bit different than, than most legislators and folks who work on the issue. Yes, I’m a consumer like many folks, but for me, my relationship with these amazing workers and advocates who push forward the rights of nail salon workers began when I was a director of the Exploited Workers Task Force for the governor. This is back in 2016, 2017. It was born out of the need to make sure that low wage workers had their rights protected. I’m not sure if you remember the nail salon workers exposé   by the New York Times which really took an in-depth look at what were the salary issues, the wage theft, the health conditions that these workers were forced to labor under. And so from there was born a set of policies meant to improve the health and safety of the workers and to hold owners accountable for making sure that these safety measures were followed. I came in to manage that piece and my relationship with these amazing workers who frankly, you know, allow us to have our little luxuries here and there, has been extremely tight because I work with them to improve their conditions. And there’s so much work to still be done, but our history goes back a couple of years.

ASHLEY: When many beauty professionals in our industry enjoy, I guess, the autonomy of working for themselves either as booth renters in a salon or in their own salon suite, it might be difficult for them to relate to how nail salons operate and function in New York City or other large metropolitan areas. Can you give us some context for the scope of this issue and just how far reaching this exploitation goes?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: So there are a few salons, nail salons, that still operate that way. You know, you rent your chair or you give a percentage of what you make, but the law in the state of New York, the way that it’s supposed to work is you are a salaried employer, an hourly employee, and your, the business owner, is supposed to pay you at least minimum wage. In New York right now, depending on where you are in the state, it’s somewhere between 10 to, we’re not at $15 yet because we’re gradually getting there. And so what happens is in the nail salon industry, as you guys are aware, there are tips that are given to workers. And so under the law, I’ll give you a mathematical example. Let’s say you’re making $10 an hour because of the part of the state you’re in and you get $2 of tips on average. And so your employer can then take out those $2 on average out of your paycheck and only give you $8 an hour. In essence, paying you under a minimum wage, which has created a situation ripe for abuse against these workers, because you’re taking tips. You’re obligating them to, in essence, turn over the information of what tips they’re making so that you as the owner can take that tip credit. This is well within the law, even if it’s not fair. It’s the way that the law is set up right now. We’re working on that piece as well. The other part of it is when you have more densely populated areas like New York City, you have many more nail salons and so you have a competition for who’s going to do it the cheapest, not necessarily who’s going to do a better job or do it in a more safer way. And so owners will cut corners to make sure that they’re making that extra buck. And while I understand that in an economy like ours, they gotta make their money, it should never be at the expense of providing the necessary safety measures for workers to be healthy. And so for a very long time, even pre-COVID, you were having owners who were forcing workers to work through their lunch hour, no breaks, who didn’t really have the proper protection. So when I used to get acrylic nails years ago and I would put on kind of a scarf or something over my face because of how bad the fumes, and the powder, and all that stuff smells while my nail technician was not given that same privilege in a way to be able to care for her safety. One of the reasons I actually stopped doing acrylic nails was because of that, because I didn’t want to put somebody else in that position to endanger their health. And so you have owners, who in order to be competitive, in order to make that extra buck, they’re putting the health of their workers and sometimes themselves, because they are also working in their salon, and taking wages from workers that should not be taken away because the law allows them to them calculate it that way. And it’s often and also an industry where while you have licensed technicians, many of them are either immigrants, may not speak the language, some who don’t yet have a license, and the law has changed a little bit in New York state, may be undocumented. So these are folks who are generally not the type of folks who are going to speak up if they have a situation at work where there is a lack of health and safety measures, somebody is taking their wages, sexual harassment, lack of rest time. You’re just not going to have that in that community until the regulations, and policies, and, and kind of worker led movement that began in early 2016. Well, that began to take shape because they’d been around for a while, to make sure that these workers had a voice that was heard because they’ve always had a voice. Now, it was a matter of screaming loud enough to make sure that the powerful people in government were listening.

JAIME: You’ve touched on many of the challenges that legitimate and ethical salon owners deal with in terms of their competition, including the low pricing, the labor violations, and even cutting corners involving using banned products. Because for those of us who actually do nails, we would associate super strong smelling products with products that contain methylmethacrylate, which is like dental acrylic. It is dental acrylic, which is a banned product. So I’m glad you’re bringing all this up. Let me ask you a quick question, because I know that as part of the regulations that came about after the New York Times exposé, there were requirements to improve the ventilation in salons, but that requirement was grandfathered for five years. I believe that’s up at the end of this year. Do we know if salons will be held to those requirements or will they receive some sort of extension?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: We don’t know yet. You know, it’s one of the things that we have to push through with the governor’s office. But I suspect that because of the economic downturn with this pandemic, there may be a possibility that they will delay them. I’m not okay with that idea because the way I look at the pandemic and the economic downturn is that it now opens up even more opportunities for these workers to be forced to work under unsafe conditions. And these are workers that, you know I want to make sure people understand, need to work. This is the kind of industry that they depend almost on that week-to-week payment. So if you don’t get paid, you don’t eat. You can’t pay rent. So you often will absolutely work under unsafe conditions because you need. And so what happens with this economic downturn? You’re going to have nail salon technicians that have to go to work and if they have to go to work under unsafe conditions, they’re going to do it. And so it’s up to us as government to protect them. And frankly, where the consumer’s best interest as well, as well as the owners. The problem is that while I understand that a lot of these retrofitting requirements are expensive, they are the law. They have to get done. And so I am hoping the governor is not going to delay the implementation, but I’m not confident that that’s going to happen.

ASHLEY: As far as casual observers are concerned. they might think that, well, this has all been resolved, because of the formation of the nail salon industry enforcement task force that Governor Cuomo formed back in 2016. Those new regulations went into effect, as we know. To your understanding, why weren’t those efforts overwhelmingly successful? Was it a lack of awareness? Was there a language barrier factor? Could it be down to client apathy? Like since you’re someone on the inside, we would love to know what that looked like from the enforcement perspective.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Look, I think it’s a little bit of, of a lot of things. Part of it is as consumers often, some are much more interested on where can I get what I need the cheapest versus how do my actions attempting to get something that’s cheap truly affect my own health and the health of others. This is not the first kind of thing that people do to get something cheap. It’s just the way that consumerism works. I think a little bit of it is also as small business owners, people struggle to make ends meet. Many of these small business owners used to be nail techs who saved up to buy their own place. And when the government put these requirements in place, there was no tax break. There was no tax incentive. Sometimes that can make it difficult. Granted, we worked really hard to help them get the bond in a more affordable way, cause there was a bond requirement. That’s a financial bond, I mean. We work with them to make sure that there was education. But when you have a government task force, generally those have a beginning and an end. There is no continuity of that level of enforcement because government is just not set up to be able to do that. So the task force ended more or less toward the middle of 2017. I left the task force in early 2017 and around the middle of that year, the efforts started to kind of die out. So there was no mass outreach. There was no mass enforcement. There was none of that stuff really happening anymore, and that’s not to fault the task force, but it is the way the task forces work. I think one of the things we have to really think through as government and as legislators is when we mandate task forces, we have to mandate a review. And so are things working? Because it’s not just about, we’re a task force. We do X, Y, and Z job. We put out a release, a report and that’s it. We should also be analyzing a year, maybe two years later, were our legislative policy and enforcement efforts actually effective in combating what we set out to do? Whether it’s wage issues or health and safety, did it work? Because as it often happens with enforcement, it’s going to look like it works for the time that you’re actually doing that enforcement, but what happens later? Do people get more lax and go back to their old behavior? Do people continue to actually do things? I mean, it’s one of the reasons right now that during COVID, you’re seeing that there is no finality of some of these outreach efforts to get people to put on their mask because when you stop, people get lax. So venture to say that one of the reasons why we still need permanent, more effective legislation to combat the workplace safety and wage issues faced by nail salon industry workers, by technicians, is because we haven’t had a concerted, long-term effort that really looks at enforcement, education, and in a way that isn’t just, I’ll say it, for a news flash, for a couple of headlines. This needs to be a long-term, concerted effort and that’s why we propose legislation. Because when you have policy, when you have a task force, it has a beginning and an end. When you have the law, you have to follow it no matter what.

JAIME: Before we get into any specifics in the Nail Salon Accountability Act that’s been proposed, let me just say this. In the interest of fairness, we would typically argue that all beauty businesses should be treated equally under the law, but operating a nail salon in New York already requires much more of the owner than operating other types of beauty businesses. So why do we need this particular act?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Look, I think it’s because what we’ve seen in the nail salon industry is how ripe it is for abuse. That doesn’t mean that when we’ve discovered other industries that are ripe for abuse, say restaurants, and sometimes hair salons, we haven’t gone after them. We absolutely have as part of that task force that I mentioned, we actually looked into what was happening in about 13, 14, I’m going by memory here, of the low wage industries or the more blue collar industries that were ripe for abuse, for wage theft, for the kinds of conditions that folks are generally afraid to speak up on. And so the reason why it may feel like the nail salon industry has much more regulations than others is because what we discovered in the industry it required that it happened that way. I’m sure that as we get more in-depth looks at what’s happening in say restaurants, now we’re coming up with more regulations. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the One Fair Wage campaign, but for years they’ve been fighting for the same thing that we are fighting for, for nail salon workers, which is owners should not be able to take a quote, unquote discount or credit for the tip that a worker earns. A tip should be for the worker.

ASHLEY: I’d love to get more in depth on the bill that you’ve sponsored about holding nail salon owners accountable. If you could give us some of the highlights of what you’re proposing that would be a change for our industry.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: So in essence, part of the bill codifies what the governor’s executive order did a couple of years ago. And the reason why we chose to codify it is because an executive order is not law. So another governor could come in and change that, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen. So that’s one part of it. The other part of it is it allows workers to have more input in the licensing process and the accessibility to registration. It makes it more worker friendly. It actually listens to the workers. It provides grounds where the Secretary of State, which is the person at the department of state that approves the applications, it sets forth the grounds for denial, renewal of that license and that application. It creates a public registry of nail salons that doesn’t really exist right now.  

JAIME: Some of the things that we’ve found most interesting about the law, like the training requirements where salon owners actually have to attend an in-person training on what they’re supposed to be doing, and then in turn, training is meant to be provided to all of the employees of a salon by a third party. So it’s not like the owner can turn around and then provide training.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Yes, and that training piece is actually part of what’s required right now. Right now, if you are going to get a license, you have to get a certain number of hours of training. What this does is codifies that piece of it, but adds an extra add-on where the health and safety and all that other stuff that you should know when you’re a tech, as well as when you’re an owner, is going to be provided by a nonprofit who knows how to do this work. In New York, we have a fantastic organization called NYCOSH who has been doing health and safety worker training for decades. And so they’re one of those folks that would be partnering to do these kinds of training.

JAIME: As a nail salon owner with employees myself, one of the things in the bill struck me as being invasive, but not overly burdensome so that I wouldn’t object to it as much as some might, for example, the requirement of submitting monthly payroll records.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: I could see how that seems a little bit extra burdensome, but the reason why that is being done it’s because of the way that the industry has operated with the nail salon owners who are not, I will say it, not as ethical. You know there’s many salon owners who were taking the actual tips, and holding the actual wages from workers, and forcing them to work under conditions that didn’t really when you added up the amount of time spent versus what they were getting paid, they didn’t really add up to the minimum wage. You know right now the minimum wage in New York city and it’s 13.50 for 10 or less employees. And the majority of nail salons have 10 or less employees, you know, the small ones in the more populated areas. So one of the things that I have seen because I’ve actually stopped frequenting salons when I see this happening is that the tips will be given, not to the worker directly, but to the front clerk who takes the payment. And then how do you know if it actually gets to the worker? How do you know if the worker’s getting paid by the hour and what they’re getting paid? And so I think one of the reasons why this is being required is if you want the privilege of doing business in New York, if you want the privilege of having a licensed nail salon, then you have to meet these requirements because unfortunately the industry as a whole has not really complied with a lot of this.

ASHLEY: I think that’s a very important point is that through compliance we earn the trust of not only our clients, but our government. And so while it may appear burdensome to those who are following the rules, it is a bit of a lowest common denominator proposal, honestly, and it’s very important, and we fully support your bill, and hope that it moves onto the next round. Can you give us a little snapshot of what’s next for it?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: So what happens in the legislature is when you introduce a bill, generally they have a two year shelf life. And so anything that you introduce from 2018 to 2020, you have to reintroduce in 2021. This bill was introduced in March of 2020 and what happened was it got referred to the economic development, but because of COVID, it has taken a second place, more like in the back burner because some of my colleagues, I disagree with that notion, but some of my colleagues don’t see it as a need during COVID, as something that needs to be decided now. So I will be reintroducing it early next year and pushing for it because I think that at the time where we’re trying to rebuild many industries and protect workers, this needs to take front and center when we’re talking about how to protect low wage workers, help businesses. Because if you look at it at the bill, the bill also tries to help business owners. One of the things that I think admittedly the Exploited Workers Task Force and the Nail Salon Workers Task Force could have done better was even more outreach, and long-term outreach, and long-term education to owners. I have always been of the belief that it is impossible for someone to comply with a law that they don’t know or don’t understand. And so if we are mandating that the state require owners to take a certain training in order to get that license, that is a sure shot way to make sure that they have the information they need to comply. If they didn’t choose to not comply, that’s on them. We can’t change that part, but we can absolutely make sure that an owner has all the tools and all the information they need to comply with the law.

JAIME: Though the bill didn’t get much of a hearing this year, can you give us some sense of how it’s been received? I saw that you had multiple co-sponsors, so I assume that’s a good sign. What parts are most controversial?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: I haven’t gotten really any pushback on the bill. So what’s going to be controversial, I think we are yet to see it. I suspect that the economic downturn during COVID may change how some folks view the bill. And so I’m waiting to see what that is to figure out how we work through it. If there’s a way to work through it, or, or if we keep the bill as is.  I am always open to listening to the needs of constituents and that includes small business owners. And so if I am made aware that something becomes much more difficult, we go back to the drawing board and we figure out how do we still make folks comply, keep workers safe, and ensure that we’re not driving someone to go broke, because that’s not the purpose of the bill. The purpose of the bill is protecting workers and ensuring employers are in compliance, and protecting the employers too. And so what happens now is it’ll go back into committee. We’ll push for it to, at least get a hearing. It doesn’t really work like a hearing. It’s more like we have a committee meeting and during the committee meeting, we’ll discuss it. It’s not like a real hearing in the way that you think of hearings with a bunch of people testifying. It’s more like a bunch of elected officials discussing the good and the bad of the bill and figuring out what they do with it. And so I think that’s what will happen next. I’m going to be pushing for the economic development committee to actually put the bill through. And then if it moves forward, it goes on the floor of the assembly. And that’s when you get more of a debate because if it’s the kind of bill that becomes a little bit more controversial, you could have a real debate on the floor about the merits and any legal concerns that folks may have on the bill. And we’re hoping that that could happen next year so that by the end of the next legislative session, we could have an actual bill in place.

ASHLEY: As members of this industry knowing what we know about being inside of it, COVID has just exacerbated all of these problems. And while it may not be an immediate relief type bill, it definitely would go a long way to changing the circumstances for the workers that we’ve discussed. What is your read on the current situation given just the absolutely devastating impact that this pandemic has had on the lives and the livelihoods of nail salon workers in New York? We, you were starting with an industry that wasn’t complying with existing labor laws to begin with, and now we add the additional hardship of pandemic unemployment, and trying to go through that process, having the extra hurdle of immigration status and things like that. So will you be changing the bill text in any way when you reintroduce it next year taking that into account?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: We don’t have any plans to change it just yet. Because as I said before, we haven’t really gotten pushback. We’ve gotten support that it is needed more than ever by the workers who are impacted. I do think that it’s important to have conversations between now and when we reintroduce it and nothing stops us from amending it once it’s introduced to make sure that it is as strong as it could be, because for all we know there may be other things that we should be adding to make it even stronger. But one of the beautiful things about this bill is that it was written by the workers, by the nonprofits who have been organizing these workers for a very long time. I am just the legislative voice that helps push it forward, but this is a bill that was born out of the working conditions that these folks who wrote it and help draft it had to endure. So I’m going to respect that as much as possible to make sure that when we pass this bill, it really truly is transformative for the industry because I don’t believe in passing legislation that simply has pretty taglines that land me on the news. Those are useless. I believe in passing legislation that’s truly transformative for people. And I think this is one of those bills, you know, Anecdotally, I’ll tell you that I have gone around my own neighborhood until I found that one nail salon that followed all the regulations and become very close with the techs that work there, the owner who’s always at the front managing it. And what I’ve seen is the kind of nail salon that they follow every regulation, everything from health and safety during manicures/pedicures, to the tips, to how they treat their workers, to letting them take the lunch break, like all that stuff is in place. And they’ve managed to have a successful nail salon that still makes money and that has workers that are feeling safe enough to come back. These folks, as you may know, generally in nail salons, techs, there’s a lot of turnover in some of these salons and this one has had the same folks from the time that they opened about two and a half years ago. And so I’ve had conversations about how difficult the reopening process has been and whether our city has given them a hand or not in our state. And one of the things that has become clear to me is that because they are now, many of these places have to comply with health and safety regulations related to COVID, it has made the lives of workers that much more safe. I mean, I don’t think there’s any other word to describe it during this time. I wished it was a kind of industry where these folks could get pandemic unemployment, but a lot of them are undocumented, so they would never qualify. They can just stay home. But because of those new regulations imposed by the city on an industry that was already very much regulated, but not permanently regulated, that’s why we need the bill. There has been an attempt to find a way to still function and successfully. So you know, when I hear from business owners that tell me, there’s just no way I can do this, I sympathize and I understand, but I have seen firsthand businesses that have successfully been able to comply with the law, keep their workers safe, not just pre-COVID, but even now.

JAIME: As a salon owner. I appreciate your sharing your experience as a client because I think it’s important that legislators have these experiences  and they can anecdotally explain how salon owners can make it work. They can be viable. They can treat their workers fairly, and follow the law, and offer great customer service, as I’m sure you experienced when you go to the salon. The question I have for you is, what message would you like to share with consumers about how to choose a salon? And the reason I ask is that I know that there was a list of five questions that clients were asked to pose to a prospective salon. And I thought to myself, why should clients have to even ask these questions? And, and what proof could this law really provide that they were paying at least minimum wage? I suppose they could see whether or not the workers were actually being provided PPE, but they wouldn’t know if those workers had worn it repeatedly or had to pay their owner for them, which is obviously not legal. The other questions were about the ventilation. And of course we know that odors are an indication but not necessarily a true indication of how good the ventilation is. We should be able to spot a salon business license, yes. And then also that nail salon workers bill of rights, we would hope that the salon owner would not just post it, but would actually follow it and implement it in the practice of operating their salon. So again, what advice, if that was a long winded way to get to the question, which is, what advice would you give consumers to find that salon in their neighborhood that does what they’re supposed to do?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Look I think, you’ve got to become an educated consumer. If you really truly care about how workers are treated, you need to understand how an industry operates. Read a lot about it. Read about the reports that have been released, understand that piece, but not everybody’s going to do that level of homework. And I think there are a few key things that everyday consumers can do to spot whether a nail salon is operating the way that they need to. You’re going to look for certain health and safety measures that anecdotally I have seen the good nail salons that follow and the ones that don’t. When you’re getting your pedicure, the law requires that there be a plastic disposable cover that’s actually put over the bowl where you put your feet, and that is then disposed of, and thrown away. It isn’t rare to still find salons that won’t use that plastic cover and instead we’ll just spray it afterwards with disinfectant which makes people think that it’s fine, that it must be clean, but you don’t know what it’s being sprayed with. You assume that it’s a disinfectant, but you don’t know. I think for me, the sure shot way to know that you are going to the kind of salon that follows that is, are they using that plastic cover? The second thing is, especially during the time of COVID, are there separators between clients, whether it’s the plexiglass or any other form that it’s allowed in your jurisdiction. Because I assume that this isn’t just for New York consumers, New York City consumers, but there will be other places that may hear this. So what is the requirement in your city to keep workers and consumers safe and safely distant and are they compliant with that? And then another one is engage your nail tech in a conversation. They are humans. They are people with families. Talk to them about how long have you worked here. Do you like working here? Where did you work before? And you will learn a lot about their commitment to that one salon and whether they’re there because they need the work and can’t find work elsewhere, and are risking their own health and safety, or do they work there because they really feel like their work is valued and they’re appreciated. And that’s one of the things I discovered when I engaged my current nail tech. And I would argue that one of the other ways is go there right before closing time. And when you walk in, and you know that these techs have been working probably 10, maybe 12 hours, and you’re the last person, or someone else is the last person to come in, and that owner would rather make an extra $20 than understand that these overly work people are exhausted and force them to stay for that extra $20, that’s an indication that that owner is more about that money than about that worker. What I have seen in my own nail salon is the owner has turned people away. If you come too close to closing time, he’s like, I’m sorry. My ladies have been working all day. They have to go now. And I have also seen him ask on what I would probably think are slow days, do you want to do another? If you don’t, it’s okay. He’ll walk over to them and say it’s okay.  And there have been times when they say yes and there have been times when they say no. I think it’s a little bit about the psychology of how you see people being treated because if you see an owner that is willing, in essence, to force people to work extra, that’s probably an owner that is taking tips or what we call stealing wages from workers and probably not treating them very well.

JAIME: Thank you for highlighting the fact that these workers, not only do they work really hard, but they have other responsibilities, particularly their families, and they have worked a long day and really don’t have control over their work environments, and building a relationship it maybe one of the highlights of their day is that they feel like they’re connecting with their clients. So I think it is on clients to reciprocate and engage with their worker. So thank you for pointing that out because I think otherwise they’re just treated as if they’re completely expendable and interchangeable. So we do appreciate your realizing that for us. And I want to say that we are so looking forward to being able to support you in your efforts when you do reintroduce this bill. So what should we watch out for? Should we be checking your website or how can we best position ourselves as an industry to support your efforts?

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: So generally the reintroduction has no fanfare. It’s just a bunch of paperwork that we send in, but more than likely we will be organizing with the nail salon worker groups because it’s several of them. Adhikaar is one of them. It’d be Nail Salon Workers Association. We’re going to be organizing with them again to create momentum for this bill to move forward. And so watch out for possible press releases, for maybe some op-editorials, some news,information about how it’s moving forward, and what we’re going to do with it. And then when you see that happening, help us advocate ao that even more of my colleagues and just in the assembly, but in the senate, sign onto the bill and understand the importance of really reforming this industry. One of the things that I think works very well when you have the kind of bill that could be, you know, a little bit controversial is when you have what I call the unusual suspects supporting them. So for a bill that requires certain things of business to then be supported by some of those businesses, it says a lot. And I hope and I am glad to hear that you guys are going to be supportive of this effort because I think at the end of the day, what it also does, and you mentioned this earlier, that the ethical salons have been in this race to the bottom with salons who refuse to follow the law. And it has created this economic struggle of who can do the cheapest, and earn the most, and it should not be like that. I mean, I’ve seen some of the work that the nail techs do is art. It literally is art and for us to be diminishing not only the art, but the business itself by figuring out where we can find it for the cheapest is not the way that we should be treating small business owners, is not the way that we should be treating workers. We should be giving them the dignity. And I think that this bill helps not only give dignity to the workers, but also bring dignity back to the industry as a whole.

ASHLEY: Well, what a fabulous way to wrap our arms all the way around this issue. And I can’t thank you enough Assemblywoman Cruz for being our guest today and giving us some of your very valuable time to discuss this very important issue.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Thank you, Ashley and Jaime for having me on, It’s the kind of industry we think about when we want to pamper ourselves, when you need to go on a date, when you need to look good on TV, but we rarely as consumers stop to think about how our own actions are affecting those workers, their health, those owners, their viability as a business. And I think we need to become more responsible consumers. And I’m hoping that we can pass this bill and push forward an industry that has given us a lot and we need to give some to them.

JAIME: Whenever you’d like to come back and share more as the bill gets reintroduced, we’d love to have you.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRUZ: Thank you so much.

ASHLEY: If you’re enjoying Outgrowth, leave us a review on Apple podcasts with one click. Just visit bit.ly/outgrowthpodcast.

JAIME: As always, you can follow us in comment on recent episodes on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast.

ASHLEY: This was an exciting episode.

JAIME: I’m excited because we’re bringing this information to the audience in advance of when the action really starts because this bill was put on hold.

ASHLEY: And the answer, I guess, is always to be proactive.

JAIME: Always, and we can’t say that we didn’t know what was coming if you happen to operate in the state of New York. And this is just not a New York issue. We know that wage theft, labor exploitation, tax avoidance, all these things happen across the country and that a state like New York is tackling this problem head on and making it very clear that the requirements are going to be quite strict for operating a business where these sorts of things are rampant.

ASHLEY: It’s encouraging for the future of the industry and I think elected officials like Assemblywoman Cruz are definitely steering us in the right direction.

JAIME: And January is not that far away.

ASHLEY: That is true. All right. Well, stay tuned. Until next week, be smart.

JAIME: Be safe.



Described as the best beauty podcast in 2020, Outgrowth Podcast is for hairstylists, nail techs, estheticians, massage therapists and lash technicians. Hosted by beauty industry experts Ashley Gregory Hackett and Jaime Schrabeck, PhD, this salon industry podcast has helpful  interviews with guests that teach topics from increasing salon clientele, salon marketing, covid guidelines, beauty industry insights, starting a salon, renting a salon suite, salon Instagram tips, and how to run a successful salon. Join us for weekly episodes of hair podcasts, nail podcasts, esty podcast, and more.

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