Essential work, low wages on the farm

Farmworkers earned less than 60 percent of what comparable workers did off the farm last year, says an Economic Policy Institute blog. The wage gap in 2020 was virtually unchanged from 2019.

As the pandemic exposes low wages and unsafe conditions at food-distribution centers, workers are striking

On January 23, after a tense, week-long strike led by Teamsters Local 202, 1,400 employees of New York City’s Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market—the world’s largest wholesale produce market—reached an agreement with management that includes the biggest raise Local 202 has ever won through bargaining. The victory was the latest in a series of actions by the Teamsters, as the pandemic has ignited long-simmering labor disputes at food-distribution centers across the country.(No paywall)

Farmworkers win rate hike from Driscoll’s supplier after walkout, petition

Farmworkers at a supplier for Driscoll’s, the largest berry distributor in the world, won a raise earlier this month — as well as some Covid-19 safety measures — following a series of actions demanding better pay and working conditions.(No paywall)

Farmworkers at Driscoll’s supplier demand fair pay, safe conditions amid pandemic

In a rare organized action, more than 100 nonunion workers joined a work stoppage at Rancho Laguna Farms, a California grower that supplies Driscoll’s, the largest berry producer in the world. The workers were protesting a demand that they pick only the best fruit for the same pay, even though quality was spotty, making it hard to earn more than minimum wage at their piece-work rate of $1.90 a box.(No paywall)

Coronavirus devastates restaurant workers who live ‘tip to mouth’

As restaurants around the country close or shift to delivery only, "millions of laid-off ... workers, many who made just $2.13 an hour plus tips — the federal minimum wage for tipped workers — are scrambling to pay their bills and feed their families," as Liza Gross reports in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

This Chinese berry is part of a conservation revolution

A small, red Chinese berry is at the heart of a radical new approach to conservation, “helping to save both the forest where it grows in the Upper Yangtze region — one of the most biodiverse places on the planet — and the villagers who harvest it,” writes FERN associate editor Kristina Johnson in a story co-produced with NPR’s The Salt.