In a rather disturbing twist of fate the very same workers who prepare and serve us our food on a daily basis are on the brink of starving. A new study conducted by the Food Chain Workers Alliance found that nine out of every 10 workers in the food industry are earning less than a “livable wage.”
The survey took all aspects of the food industry into account from servers at restaurants to farm workers, slaughterhouse employees, grocery stores and butcher shops. The survey notes that those workers make up one fifth of America’s private sector workforce.
The study found that the median wage for those workers is just $9.65, well below a “livable wage” in many parts of the county. It also found that 13.8% of food industry workers require food stamps just so they can eat the very foods they are helping produce on a daily basis.
In a more troubling statistic 83% of food service workers do not have health insurance through their employer and 79% of those workers do not get sick days or they are not told about sick days that are made available to them by their employer. It was also found that not only do workers not have health insurance but 57% have been hurt on the job or gotten sick because of their work.
The study also found that 81% of food service workers never receive a promotion, especially if they are immigrants or minorities. That means the chance of leaving a low-level job are minimal at best.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that food service workers are underpaid and under appreciated but the extent at which they languish in low paying jobs, even for some of America’s top food producers is rather disturbing.