Nail techs face challenges


From being illegally classified as independent contractors, to losing the option to take a licensing test in Vietnamese, Oregon’s nail technicians face many challenges.

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From being illegally classified as independent contractors, to losing the option to take a licensing test in Vietnamese, Oregon’s nail technicians face many challenges.

The Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, a coordinator for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, says Vietnamese nail salon workers get little attention, though they are part of a fast-growing group of Oregonians. “Asian Pacific workers in general are really isolated,” Santos-Lyons says. “In Portland, they’re still pretty invisible.”

A new coalition of health regulators and advocates for immigrants has emerged in Oregon to begin to address this. Another concern for nail salon technicians—and those who are immigrants and uneducated, in particular—springs from uncertainty about the possible health impact of the chemicals typically found in nail salons. P.K. Melethil, one of the organizers with the Oregon Collaborative for Healthy Nail Salons, says the group will begin to collect personal stories from workers this summer to get a better sense of what other barriers they may face. “This particular sector is in need of some support,” Melethil says.

Read more at Willamette Week.

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