CLEVELAND (WJW) – New legislation in the Ohio Statehouse could allow barber college students to graduate in roughly half the time as current practice, but one Cleveland barbershop owner strongly opposes the new bill.
Waverly Willis is the owner of Urban Kutz Barbershop and he’s also the chairman of the Ohio Barber and Beauty Alliance.
He warns that House Bill 542 is problematic because it lowers the bar for students, leaving them unprepared to enter the workforce.
“A barber student isn’t fully ready skill-wise to enter into the professional field at 1,800 hours,” Willis said. “They’re not even willing to negotiate. The problem is that they’re not even willing to negotiate. If you’re going to drop these hours down to 1,000, you’re almost cutting it in half.”
HB 542 easily passed in the Ohio Senate, and is awaiting scheduling for the House to vote, placing it two steps away from becoming law.
Willis said HB 542 is driven by the interests of corporate chains that are struggling to find employees, thus the need to lower requirements, which he claims is to the detriment of both the graduates and customers.
“If it passes, it’s going to produce employees,” he said. “Versus these guys, who are independent contractors. They work inside of Urban Kutz Barbershop – but that’s a business, that’s a business and that’s a business – they’re independent contractors.”
FOX 8 reached out for comment from the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board, but Interim Executive Director Lori Pearson declined to comment on pending legislation.
Representatives Bill Roemer and Lisa Sobecki are sponsors of the bill, but neither were immediately available for comment.
Willis hopes his concerns are heard because if not, he feels the customers will be the once paying the price.
“The quality of your service, the quality of your haircut is going to be drastically lowered,” Willis said.
Read the bill, as passed by the Senate, here.