In the News

New York City / The undervalued retail worker

The national frenzy of holiday shopping has begun again, with some shoppers lining up soon after finishing their Thanksgiving meals. As usual, retailers have hired thousands of seasonal workers, many of them part-time, most with no benefits, often at minimum wage.

I survived three holiday seasons as a part-time sales associate in an upscale Westchester mall, its parking lot jammed with Range Rovers and Mercedes. Shoppers arrived in our store laden with pontoons of shopping bags from brand-name designers.

It costs $8 to park there for more than a few hours. Even part-time sales associates, some barely earning $8 an hour, pay to park, losing the first hour of their labor for the privilege.

They’re the lucky ones. Many instead commute several hours each way by public transit from Manhattan or the Bronx. For the next month, they’ll have barely a few hours rest after grueling 10- or 12-hour holiday shifts — then hours of post-closing clean up — before it’s time to turn around and start again.

Yet many retailers still insist that these staffers are worth mere pennies. Retail work, they say, is a low-skill, even no-skill job, best suited to teenagers who need a little pocket change.

Not so. A 2011 study of 436 New York City retail workers commissioned by the Retail Action Project, a workers’ advocacy group, found that one-third of the workers surveyed, their average age 24, are supporting a family member on their paltry wages.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 

Capture d’écran 2013-11-29 à 08.24.52

via The undervalued retail worker – NY Daily News.


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