Introduction to Food Chain Workers
With nearly 20 million workers, the food system is collectively the largest private sector employer in the United States, including farmworkers, food, meat and poultry processing workers, food retail and distribution workers, food transport workers, and restaurant workers, among others. 1 in 5 private sector workers and 1 in 6 workers total work in the U.S. food system. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the absolute lowest-paying employer in the United States, offering some of the worst benefit packages and working conditions of any sector. Every year, the U.S. Department of Labor releases a list of the ten lowest-paying jobs in America, and eight of the 10 jobs listed are food system jobs. Food chain worker advocates have worked collectively to improve these conditions and expand the definition of ‘sustainable food’ to include sustainable working conditions for the people who harvest, process, transport, prepare, serve, and sell that food.