Senate passes Fashion Workers Act, now awaits Assembly approval

### New York Fashion Industry Under Scrutiny

The New York fashion industry, a global hub for fashion, generates $600 million in state revenue annually during the semi-annual New York Fashion Week. With approximately 180,000 workers earning close to $11 billion in total wages, the industry plays a significant role in the state’s economy.

### Push for Labor Protections

A bill making its way through the state Legislature aims to regulate talent companies hiring models and provide fashion workers with the same labor protections as workers in other industries. Lawmakers are focused on ensuring that these workers are protected from wage theft, harassment, and discrimination.

### The Fashion Worker’s Act Details

The proposed Fashion Workers Act would regulate talent companies, require proper notification about contract renewals and agreements, and cap agency commission fees at 20% of a model’s pay. The goal is to hold management companies accountable and close existing loopholes that allow them to avoid licensing and regulations.

### Challenges Faced by Fashion Workers

Currently, workers in the fashion industry often have exclusive multi-year contracts or work visas with companies that do not pay them in a timely manner. If the bill passes, these workers must be paid within 45 days of completing a job. The bill also addresses issues such as the use of artificial intelligence to alter a model’s appearance without their consent.

### Advocating for Basic Rights

Sara Ziff, the Model Alliance’s executive director, emphasizes the importance of basic rights for fashion industry workers, particularly young immigrant women and girls. Ziff highlights the need for transparency in contracts and financial agreements, stating that these requests should not be controversial.

### Legislative Progress

The Senate has passed the bill for a second time, but it is currently held up in the Assembly. The Assembly Labor Committee is expected to advance the Fashion Worker’s Act for the first time, with hopes for a floor vote before the session ends. Labor Committee chair Harry Bronson is supportive of the bill’s progress.

The fashion industry, which generates about $2 billion in tax revenue for the state annually, plays a crucial role in New York’s economy. With ongoing efforts to provide labor protections for fashion workers, the industry may see significant changes in the near future.

Original Story at – 2024-05-21 00:32:00

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