First-of-its-Kind Report Looks at Wages & Working Conditions of Workers Across Entire Food Chain
From Farms to Restaurants, Food Workers Comprise One-Sixth of Nation’s Workforce
Today, a new report was released that, for the first time, looks at wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain. Members of the Food Chain Workers Alliance – including ROC United, UFCW, and others – conducted nearly 700 surveys and interviews with workers and employers in food production, processing, distribution, retail and service, which collectively sell over $1.8 trillion dollars in goods and services annually, accounting for over 13 percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product.
“THE HANDS THAT FEED US: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain” examines the five core food occupations and industries, including: farmworkers (production), slaughterhouse and other processing facilities workers (processing), warehouse workers (distribution), grocery store workers (retail), and restaurant and food service workers (service). These particular segments employ in total approximately 20 million workers who constitute one in five private sector workers and one-sixth of the nation’s entire workforce.
While the report finds some livable wage jobs in the food system, the majority of food jobs do not provide a sustainable wage floor or basic benefits such as paid sick days, putting the nation’s food supply at tremendous risk. In addition, intense corporate conglomeration in every segment of the food chain has greatly diminished the quality and biodiversity of our food.