RAP & CUNY MURPHY INSTITUTE – “Discounted Jobs: How Retailers Sell Workers Short”

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Retail is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States and a core part of the New York City economy. A study of 436 frontline retail workers conducted in the fall of 2011 by the Retail Action Project and Stephanie Luce of the City University of New York’s sought to track the wages and working conditions of frontline non-managerial workers in New York’s booming retail industry. Because New York is the retail capital of the United States, and the majority of respondents worked in stores with a national presence, this study paints a portrait of the practices and conditions experienced by retail workers across the country. From interviews with workers from non-union national chains, the report reveals:

  • Over half of workers surveyed earn less than $10/hour
  • About 34% of retail workers surveyed relied on public assistance
  • Only 25% have ever used a paid sick day
  • More than 70% don¬ít get health insurance from their job
  • 77% of Latina women made under $10/hour
  • Only 17% have a regular schedule


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