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Research Report

Is Your Gourmet Grocer a Sweatshop?

  • Brennan Center for Justice
Published: March 1, 2005

All across Manhattan, more and more gourmet grocery stores are opening up. They cater to upscale customers looking for quality foods imported cheese, organic vegetables and fresh fruits. Indeed, shopping in these stores can be a wonderful reprieve from the hectic lives we all lead. But caring about our community means caring about the workers who help keep it running every day. The truth about working conditions is often hidden from the public’s view. Wages are at poverty levels. The work is long and strenuous. Health insurance is non-existent or unaffordable. And managers are regularly abusive.

In fact, its often the stores with the highest prices and most expensive foods that pay their workers the least. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many businesses take the high road, providing good jobs and still making good profits. As residents, community leaders and people of faith, we can hold the owners of these gourmet grocery stores accountable. We can call on them to act with integrity create good jobs with fair pay and just treatment of their workers.