90% of Food Workers Basically Starving

New study finds lousy conditions for workers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2012 11:39 AM CDT
A culinary student rushes through the kitchen with greens during a class for aspiring professional chefs in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be line cooks. The food industry is a pretty terrible one to work in, a new study from the Food Chain Workers Alliance argues, with nearly nine out of every 10 workers earning less than a "livable wage." The report looked at people across the food industry, surveying employees at such disparate places as farms, slaughterhouses, grocery stores, and restaurants. Together, such workers comprise a fifth of America's private sector workforce, the LA Times reports.

The common denominator for all of those jobs: They kinda suck. Among the report's findings:

  • The median wage is $9.65 an hour.
  • Some 13.8% depend on food stamps.
  • The vast majority—83%—don't get health insurance through their employers, and 79% either don't get sick days or don't know if they do.
  • Most (81%) have never received a promotion, and that's especially true of minorities and immigrants, who typically languish in low-level jobs.
  • A majority (57%) have gotten hurt or sick on the job.
(Read more labor stories.)

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