NYC Supermarket Baggers Take Up Fight for Hourly Wage

NYC Supermarket Baggers Take Up Fight for Hourly Wage

Chris Phillips
Feb 13, 2007

The person who bagged your groceries may rely on tips to make a living, according to an article in Sunday's New York Times:

"In many [New York City] supermarkets, managers treat these baggers as volunteers, not paying them wages and making them rely on tips . . . many baggers are speaking up, insisting that they are employees and should be paid like other supermarket workers."

I'd thought baggers were now being paid a salary since the state attorney general's office settled with Gristedes and Food Emporium a few years ago. The article says some baggers, including those at smaller franchise supermarkets, are still not paid an hourly wage.

Bloggers were quick to pick up this story with reactions ranging from guilt to a call for halting the use of plastic supermarket bags.

Surviving The Work Day: In Bushwick, Brooklyn, Make the Road by Walking organized a boycott of the local Associated because some employees only worked for tips.

Gothamist: "How does one actually know that baggers are supposed to get tips?" The Gothamist plans to ask grocery baggers if they are on salary.

The Shadow of the Olive Tree: "In Europe the idea of a person whose job is to put shopper's grocery into bags for them is unheard of. Not only are shoppers expected to do it themselves, here on the Riviera our supermarkets have recently stopped providing free bags at all."

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