In Defense of My Worker’s Rights

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Connie Nguyen is a licensed Cosmetologist with over 15 years of experience working on hair and nails.
Since 2006, Connie has also been a strong advocate with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus for workers’ rights to healthy and safe conditions at their workplaces in the beauty and nail care industry. The nail care industry is among one of the fastest-growing professional industries in the United States, having more than tripled in the last two decades and generating an annual revenue of over $6 billion.

In California, there are over 300,000 individuals licensed to work in salons, the majority of which are owned and staffed by Vietnamese women, many of childbearing age. While working in salons, women are exposed to a wide array of carcinogenic chemicals over long periods of time.mMany of these women work 6-7 days a week for 10 hours a day on average. Many of these women have also been showing increased signs of dermatitis, chronic asthma and other respiratory illnesses. However, little research still has been done on the health effects to salon workers from exposure to these toxic chemicals.

As an advocate for nail salon workers, Connie has played a large role in sharing her stories and experiences working in the industry and having overcome an illness with countless peers throughout California to encourage them to take action on protecting their health and to speak up about their need for more attention and research to be done on how chemicals they work with each day are impacting their health, their families, and their livelihood.

Since joining the Advancing Justice – ALC, Connie has also spoken up for nail salon workers at countless hearings, community forums and research convenings to urge for support and policy changes to ensure workers’ rights in this industry.
She has testified before Senator Carole Migden, Joe Simitian and Lou Correa on the need for policies to force manufacturers to discontinue the use of toxic ingredients in beauty and personal care products.
has also testified and met with city officials as well as state agency representatives including Cal/OSHA to encourage them to support greener business programs for nail salons.

Currently she also sits as a regular worker and outreach advisor to the CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and has also been nominated for a seat on the board of the Bureau of Barbering and Cosmetology to represent Vietnamese workers throughout California.

Learn more about the Workers’ Rights program.

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