On a wage of $11-$13 an hour, unionized grocery workers in New Jersey are barely making ends meet. Meanwhile, their union bosses, living high on the hog, make 20 times more.
In Northern New Jersey, one of the most expensive places in the nation to live, grocery workers—many of whom have been unionized for decades—are shelling out hundreds of dollars per year in union dues while many don’t even earn a living wage.
Meanwhile, according to records on file with the U.S. Department of Labor, the top five union bosses at the United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1262, based in Clifton, NJ, averaged over $285,000 in 2017.
In fact, although the minimum wage in New Jersey (as of 2018) is $8.60 per hour, many unionized grocery workers make only slightly more than that.
For example, at Stop & Shop (a primarily-unionized grocery chain), the average cashier only makes $9.41 per hour, according to Indeed.com, while a seafood clerks average $9.34 per hour.
Although these numbers appear to have been updated in 2018, they may, in fact, be somewhat lower than the actual average.
In either case, however, unionized grocery workers still make less than what some say should be a living wage in New Jersey, while paying union dues to union bosses who are in the top two percent of all income earners in the U.S.—and have been doing so for years.