June 25, 2015
By Congresswoman Grace Meng
Queens, NY – In May, a New York Times investigation shed light on the deplorable working conditions at nail salons in our area. The coverage hit close to home for many of us, and for me, it felt personal.
As an Asian American woman in my late 30s, I fit the profile of a nail salon worker. As the daughter of hardworking small business owners, I also fit the profile of a nail salon owner. And, like many Americans, I am the beneficiary of a systemic problem: the demand for cheaper prices that squeezes responsible businesses and drives illegal practices among bad players.
This is a complex issue, and reform requires participation from government, business owners, workers and consumer advocates. We need everyone at the table to confront abusive working conditions and ensure every worker is treated with decency.
We must not lose sight of the fact that worker exploitation extends beyond nail salons. There are workers facing abuse at restaurants and gas stations, and we can’t wait for the next exposé to take action.