LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An investigation by the New York Times revealed accusations of low wages in the nail salon industry but a local expert says the problem exists in Los Angeles as well.

Rusty Hicks with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor agrees with the article released by the Times on Thursday that found that manicurists endure debilitating low wages, wage theft and abuse.

But Hicks says it’s a major problem and not just in New York but in L.A. He says the obvious solution is an enforced minimum wage hike to $15 per hour.

“On average, a nail salon worker will make $13,000 a year. Minimum wage is $18,000 a year,” he said.

One owner of a salon in Studio City declined to go on camera but said that raising the minimum wage would cripple his business.

He says he’d have to significantly raise the prices of services to stay in business. The current minimum wage in California at $9 an hour is about all he can do to scrape by.

CBS2 attempted to speak with other salons in the area, but they declined to be part of the story.

Hicks explains that these workers as a group are struggling for a voice.

“We’ve been watching this issue for quite some time and are hoping that the City of LA will do something about it,” he said.

According to the Times, while New York City has the highest number of nail salons per capita in country, both Los Angeles and San Francisco follow behind in second place.

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