News

Brandworkers report on Challenges and Opportunities for Workers in NYC’s Food Manufacturing Industry

feedingNY_coverRe-posted from NY Daily News

Nearly half the city’s food manufacturing workers have been injured while earning their bread, a new survey has found.

Fifteen per cent said they slipped and fell, 14% were cut, and 10% suffered a back injury, according to the survey, set to be released Tuesday by the legal nonprofit Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project and the advocacy group Brandworkers.

A total of 42% of workers — who prepare and pack products from hummus to wontons — said they were hurt at work.

Researchers were not able to survey enough workers for the report to be statistically significant — but say the data shows an important snapshot of workers’ experiences.

“To see over four in 10 going to work and not making it home in one piece is extremely troubling,” said Daniel Gross, executive director of Brandworkers. “I think it’s reckless disregard for worker health and safety.”

More than one in 10 said employer had told them to do something that put their safety at risk, according to the survey of more than 100 city food manufacturing workers.

“When you’re dealing with heavy machinery and tight production schedules … there’s a lot of pressure to produce quickly,” Gross said.

Queens worker Manuel Estevez, 48, said he was hit on the head by a metal cart lid while packing and loading artisanal bread for Tom Cat Bakery.

“A bump on my head swelled up like a ball. One of my coworkers got hit so bad (by a lid) that he had to go to the hospital,” he said. “The company doesn’t worry about you, as long as you do your job.”

Read the full article here and the report here