About 40 supermarket baggers
and other workers are sharing nearly $320,000 in settlement money from six city
grocery stores accused of not paying salaries.
The Fair Wage Task Force
began an **investigation last fall
that found eight grocery stores across the city, including a Key Foods store in
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, were only offering tips as compensation.
"When a supermarket
customer drops a few coins into a paper cup, that is a tip, that is not a
paycheck," said State Deputy Labor Commissioner Terri Gerstein. "It
is outrageous and it is illegal for employers to pay no wages at all to their
workers, just tips."
"When we actually
decided to stand up for ourselves, me and my colleagues at work, and went to
the Department of Labor, the bosses told us that if we continued with the case
that we wouldn’t win anything and we’d be fired," said worker Angel
Six of the eight
investigated stores joined the settlement.
The other two are in
negotiations and are said to owe employees about $400,000.
New Yorkers who know of
similar wage issues are asked to call the Department of Labor at 1-888-52-LABOR
or visit www.labor.ny.gov.
**Make the Road NY has advocated for the exploited workers, and has also been intimately
involved in the investigation.