Join us for a PRESS CONFERENCE and PICKET on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 12:00am at: 167 NAIL PLAZA 167 Amsterdam Avenue, (btwn. 67th & 68th Streets, NYC) (Directions: 1 / 9 Train to 66th Street)
For almost 17 years, Susan, a Korean nail stylist, endured intolerable and illegal working conditions at the lux beauty salon, 167 Nail Plaza. Her employers at 167 Nail Plaza, Inc. and their second store a block away, 68 Nail Plaza, Inc., kept her and her co-workers working from morning until night, providing manicures, massages, and waxing services and cleaning the store at a non-stop pace. Oftentimes, the women worked ten hours or longer without any proper breaks to eat or rest, continuously exposing themselves to the toxic nail products. The employers yelled and cursed at the women if they ever spoke out. In one incident, the boss yelled, If you dont like it here, then go get a job as a call girl.
In March 2005, after having worked almost a 7-hour stretch without a meal break, Susan asked the employer to provide her break time during the day. The employer angrily refused, and the next day ordered Susan to leave at once. The Nail Plaza employers never paid overtime to Susan or her co-workers. Some workers were not paid minimum wage.
Susan and her co-workers were of different nationalities Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and the employers often pit one nationality against the other to keep the Asian women divided and to stop them from coming together to improve their conditions. The Nail Plaza employers constantly spread lies, for instance, telling the Chinese workers that Susan did not like Chinese people and therefore wanted the employer to fire all of them.
The Nail Plaza employers also resorted to retaliatory tactics and promoted a violent work environment. For example, when the employer feared that Jenny, another nail stylist and longtime friend of Susan’s, might also join Susan’s lawsuit, the boss tried to punish her and instigate fights between Jenny and other workers. Once, when a co-worker punched Jenny, the boss protected the attacker from the police. Another time, Jenny discovered alcohol had been deliberately poured onto her food without her knowing. When Jenny, who also worked at Nail Plaza for many years, recently joined the lawsuit, the employer went so far as to pour hot water onto herself and then fabricated trumped up charges that Jenny tried to scald her. The employer had the police arrest her, and constructively discharged Jenny from her job.
Now Susan and her co-workers are calling on other women and beauty or service workers throughout the city to join them in denouncing the Nail Plaza employers and to call for greater changes in the beauty industry. In nail salons across New York City, it is common for women to work long hours and go for lengthy stretches without any breaks or meal time, as is required under the New York State law. The intense work hours also leads to prolonged exposure to the nail polish and other chemicals. Many women have developed skin rashes, sinus and vision problems, or even fertility problems.
Join the Nail Plaza workers and JWBS! to fight for changes in the beauty industry by demanding that Nail Plaza employers Mou San Rim and Dong Park immediately:
- Ensure proper meal time and break time for all workers at 167 Nail Plaza and 68 Nail Plaza.
- Pay Susan and her co-workers their owed overtime and minimum wage.
- Stop the harassment of workers who speak out.
- Immediately rehire Susan and Jenny to their positions at 167 Nail Plaza and 68 Nail Plaza under fair and legal conditions, and compensate them for any lost wages.
For more information, contact Josephine Lee, JWBS! Campaign Coordinator at (212) 334-2333.
Justice Will Be Served! (JWBS) is a campaign that unites restaurant, hotel, deli, and other service workers in different communities across New York to fight against long hours, second-class wages, stolen tips and other sweatshop conditions.
JWBS! is composed of a coalition of organizations: 318 Restaurant Workers Union, Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops c/o CSWA P.O. Box 130401, New York, NY 10013-0995
tel: 212-334-2333; fax: 212-334-1974