Calling all Vietnamese American Artists

The CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative invites Vietnamese American artists (ages 18-30) to create art pieces that reflect the strength and humanity of the nail salon workforce and nail salon worker movement. The winner(s) of this competition will receive a monetary prize and have their artwork highlighted in a social media educational campaign. Manicurists and children of manicurists are encouraged to apply!

Artwork Submissions
Email the following:
1. Between one to three art pieces
2. One short description (150 words for each art piece)
3. An artist bio (one page max)

Deadline for the artwork submission: February 1, 2019
Announce artist winners: February 28, 2019

Email your application package to
Vu Nguyen:

Collaborative and UCLA Releases First National Study of Labor Conditions in Nail Salon Industry


November 27, 2018

Media Contact: Veena Hampapur,, (310) 489-3957    

UCLA Releases First National Study of Labor Conditions in Nail Salon Industry

Nail salon workers face labor issues in an expanding multi-billion dollar industry

LOS ANGELES - Key issues, trends, and areas of oversight in the multi-billion dollar nail salon industry are highlighted in Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States, a new report by the UCLA Labor Center (a unit of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment) in partnership with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. This report is the first to examine the nail salon industry nationally with a focus on labor conditions.

The study finds that 78% of nail salon employees (excluding the self-employed) are low-wage workers. This is more than double the national rate of 33% for all industries.

"Getting your nails done used to be a luxury for the wealthy, but now it's relatively inexpensive due to new tools, market demand, and the low wages paid to workers," said Preeti Sharma, the report’s lead author. “Full-time workers earn less than half of what workers earn in other sectors, and at times they are paid at a low flat rate rather than hourly.”

Nail salon workers experience challenging work conditions and labor enforcement issues, which include minimum wage and overtime violations, harassment and surveillance, and pressure to work while sick. Misclassification is also a key concern.

“30% of nail salon workers are self-employed, which is triple the national average. There is a worry that a number of workers are being misclassified as independent contractors as a way around labor laws and protections,” said Saba Waheed, Research Director at the UCLA Labor Center.

The report notes that nail salons are primarily owned and staffed by immigrants and refugees. The majority of salons are small mom-and-pop businesses with 68% having fewer than 5 employees. The labor force is predominantly Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan, and Latinx, with 81% women and 79% foreign-born.

“There is a lack of understanding of labor laws on the part of both employers and employees. Salon owners have a responsibility to treat workers well and follow labor laws. It is also critical that workers and owners have access to multilingual resources explaining workers’ rights and health and safety issues, as well as reproductive health and immigrant rights,” said Lisa Fu, Director at the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

The nail salon industry is expected to grow at almost twice the rate of other U.S. industries in the next decade, and report authors make recommendations for key stakeholders: ensure quality jobs and labor protections for nail salon workers; guarantee workplace protections and their enforcement; support high-road businesses and good employers; and assure health and safety of nail salon workers.

The report is based on existing literature, policy reports, worker stories, and government and industry sources.

Download the full report here:

**Please contact Veena Hampapur to schedule interviews.**

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The UCLA Labor Center believes that a public university belongs to the people and should advance quality education and employment for all. Every day we bring together workers, students, faculty, and policymakers to address the most critical issues facing working people today. Our research, education, and policy work lifts industry standards, creates jobs that are good for communities, and strengthens immigrant rights, especially for students and youth. The UCLA Labor Center is housed in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the study, teaching, and discussion of labor and employment issues at UCLA.

The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative’s mission is to improve the health, safety and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to achieve a healthier, more sustainable and just industry. The Collaborative brings together a wide variety of organizations with diverse expertise. We are a 20-member statewide coalition representing the nail salon community, environmental and reproductive justice, public health and workers’ rights organizations

Statement of Solidarity from the Collaborative and Black Women For Wellness

The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (Collaborative) and Black Women for Wellness (BWW) condemn the anti-black racism and violence against customers that took place at New Red Apple Nails Salon in New York and a beauty supply store in Oklahoma in August 2018. As organizations that work in deep connection with nail and hair salon workers as well as the larger Asian and Black community respectively, we know that structural racism pits communities of color against one another. There is a long history of both triumph and tension among our communities where we have come together to address civil rights and inequalities and also where structural oppression through racism, anti-blackness, anti-refugee, and anti-immigrant sentiments have caused deep fractures between our communities.  Through our lens, our histories and our shared vision of a just world, we seek to address the complicated relationships between African American and Asian American communities. Our hope is to engage in what we know are uncomfortable and challenging issues and to lean in and move forward to trusted relationships, shared values and focus on the real challenges to our freedom and justice.
The salon industry is uniquely positioned at an intersection where white beauty standards, gender inequities and economic discrimination are experienced by women of color. Our communities are exposed to harsh chemicals in the salons (hair and nail). We suffer the ill effects of that exposure, including reproductive health challenges, cancers and economic injustice. Relationships in the community are still very much transactional, little trust is being built, and the media continues to broadcast impossible beauty standards. And in the case of the salon industry, these impossible beauty and gender standards are set within a backdrop of poor compensation, labor violations, chronic occupational health conditions and issues, and where the safety of personal care products is dictated by the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry themselves.
Black Women for Wellness, the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative as well many other groups have turned our attention to focus on root of the problems. In a time where all of our communities are being attacked, it is even more critical for us to engage in true multi-racial, multi-issue conversations and collaborations. We believe that salon owners have a responsibility to ensure workplace safety, including addressing instances of worker-customer miscommunication and conflict, de-escalating any tensions, and ensuring a professional workplace environment for all. We believe that both consumers and workers should have dignity in safe and healthy salons in their communities. We believe that a divide and conquer mentality that fuels our community’s animosity against each other will not undo structural racism and white supremacy, nor will it foster the economic well-being and reproductive justice that our communities deserve. We call for inclusion, equity, and justice for immigrant, refugee, Asian, Black and all communities of color in this workforce and in our communities overall.
We are also committed to initiating community dialogues that foster respect, counter anti-black, anti-immigrant / anti-refugee discrimination, as well as a stop exploitation at the salon at all levels. We will continue to come together to challenge toxic chemicals in products, and toxic behaviors at salons.
Black Women for Wellness
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative