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Kennewick salon owner and stylists say SB 5326 will put them out of work

The station renters at Haven Hill say they might have to move out of state or look to a different career.

Salon owners and cosmetologists have taken to social media to express their concerns over a new state senate bill.

Some owners are saying if this bill passes, they would have to shut down.

“It's terrifying honestly,” said Kari Reddinger, owner of Haven Hair Studio and Spa in Kennewick.

Reddinger worked her way up from a commission stylist to owning her own salon and renting stations to other independent cosmetologists.

“Frankly it's so overwhelming we don't know what to feel,” said Grace Macduff, who rents one of the stations from Reddinger.

Macduff owns her own business.

“We have the flexibility of setting how many hours we work and how much money we make,” said Reddinger. “They're basically looking at taking that away from us.”

SB 5326 would prohibit the holder of a salon/shop license to lease a station in a salon to someone who owns a separate business.

“I could keep the salon open if I was to not work in the salon myself personally and get a different type of business license and act as a landlord,” said Reddinger.

Reddinger says this could put her out of business and leave her stylists scrambling to find another job.

“My first thoughts were ‘I need to leave the state. I can't afford to stay in the state,’” said Tina Taylor, who also rents a station in Haven Hair Studio and Spa.

“It would very much stifle the way I do business,” said Macduff.

Macduff is contracted with companies that make products to use and sell their products. In return, she gets advertising and the freedom to choose the techniques she uses to cut her clients hair. If this bill passes, she says that won't be the case. She says she will be forced to break her contracts and work the way a large salon or corporation wants her to.

“We'd be forced to use the products and do more of the methods of an employee based salon versus doing our own creative art,” Macduff said.

She also has her own employee who works in the Haven Hair Studio and Spa as her assistant. Ruby St. John says this will put her out of work.

St. John was hired as an apprentice. She says those types of jobs are hard to come by at larger salons and the training is much different and less hands on.

Senator Karen Keiser, who is the primary sponsor of the bill, says salon owners get different treatment than regular independent contractors. And she says leasing salon owners get special treatment over salons that hire their employees.

“If you have two people in the same business and two sets of rules then it is really suspect,” Sen. Keiser said. “It has to be looked into. What can we do to equalize the treatment and make things fair? That's our job.”

But the hairstylists at Haven Hill say all this bill will do is close salons and put people out of work.

“I'm upset and concerned as to why they would want to push this agenda,” Taylor said.

A majority of the salons in the Tri-Cities are lease based. If this bill passes, salon owners think they'll be the ones getting cut.

There is a petition circling social media that opposes the bill. Click here to sign.

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