Report: American Food Industry Workers Aren’t Treated So Great

If you work anywhere in the American food industry — from farming to fast food, slaughterhouse to warehouse — a new report seems to indicate you’re not being treat that well. The Food Chain Workers Alliance interviewed around 700 workers and employers in production, processing, distribution, retail and services and came up with some startling conclusions.

Researchers found that food sector workers outnumber other big industries like healthcare, education and manufacturing, and that they produce $1.8 trillion in goods and services per year, more than 13% of our gross domestic product, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Even with all that responsibility, only 1 in 10 of those workers earn a livable wage, and most don’t get basic benefits from employers or have a lot of chances for promotions. The report says workers could be in a situation where they’re forced to operate in conditions of high stress and little payback. Not ideal at all.

A couple key findings:

• Median wage for a food industry worker is $9.65 per hour, and while 8.3% of all American workers are on food stamps, 13.8% of food industry employees are on them.
• 83% report their employers don’t offer health insurance, and 3 in 10 use the emergency room as primary care.
• 79% don’t get paid sick days or aren’t sure if they do, and 3 in 10 don’t always get a lunch break.
• 81% have never received a promotion, while “Minorities and immigrants face especially high levels of discrimination and segregation and rarely advance beyond the lowest-paying positions.”

Few American food industry workers are treated well, report says [Chicago Tribune]