Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
New York, NY –
If you tip the bagger at your local supermarket, it might be all that worker earns for the day. A sweep of eight supermarkets across the city found none paying baggers an hourly wage.
At least one store owner said he didn't consider the baggers hourly employees, and instead thought he was doing them a favor by allowing them to come in and make some extra money. And investigators say the baggers themselves often don't realize they're entitled to an hourly wage. In all, six stores agreed to settle and pay workers more than $300,000 in back wages. One is a Key Food on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, where there was a news conference to announce the crackdown. The owner there declined to comment.
The investigators that visited the supermarkets say the baggers are usually teenagers or older workers. And many are African Americans or Latino immigrants.