A new report from the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Solidarity Research Cooperative show that U.S. food workers continue to face numerous challenges.
The food system makes up the largest employment sector in the country. However, for many, the jobs come with significant hardships, including stagnant wages and health and safety problems.
Key findings of the report:
- 14% of the U.S. workforce is employed in the food chain, a number that has grown 13% since 2010.
- At $10/hour and $16,000/year, frontline workers (which represent 82% of the food chain workforce) receive the lowest median wage of all industries.
- 13% of all food workers rely on food stamps to feed their household, which is 2.2x higher than the average of all other industries.
- Racial and gender inequalities exist, especially at the top. 72% of CEOs are white males, 14% white women, and the rest people of color. In addition, white women and people of color earn significantly less than white males. Native women are the worst off, earning only 36 cents for every dollar earned by white men.
- Food production safety declined over the past few years. In 2010, there were 4.6 non-fatal workplace-caused injuries and illnesses per 100 workers. In 2014, that number rose to 5.5.
- Only 6% of food chain workers are members of a union.
For more details and analysis, read the full report.