The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain
Friday, June 8, 2012 at 3:26PM
Chris Liu-Beers in Abstract, food chain workers, hunger, wages

Today, the Food Chain Workers Alliance releases a new report, The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain, the first of its kind that looks at wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain – a sector that employs 20 million people in the U.S., comprising one-sixth of the nation’s workforce.

The Hands That Feed Us is based on nearly 700 surveys and interviews with workers and employers in food production, processing, distribution, retail and service, which collectively sell over $1.8 trillion dollars in goods and services annually, accounting for over 13 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

According to our report, there are some good jobs in the food system (13.5% of workers surveyed earn livable wages), but the vast majority are incredibly low-wage, with little or no access to paid sick days and health benefits, with dire consequences for consumers.

More than 86 percent of workers reported earning subminimum, poverty, and low wages, resulting in a sad irony: food workers face higher levels of food insecurity, or the inability to afford to eat, than the rest of the U.S. workforce.

You can download the full report, the executive summary, and theexecutive summary in Spanish. If you would like a hard copy of any of these, please contact us at info (at)

Article originally appeared on Farmworker Advocacy Network (
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