Effort Launched To Ensure Compliance In Greengrocer Industry

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an effort to continue to ensure compliance with labor laws in the greengrocer industry.

As part of the effort, the Attorney General is asking workers to report possible labor violations to his office. Spitzer is also working with labor advocates, community leaders and business representatives to address the issue.

The moves come as the pioneering Greengrocer Code of Conduct is scheduled to expire in February of next year. The voluntary code was developed cooperatively with greengrocers in 2002 and has dramatically improved working conditions in participating stores.

An independent monitor has examined 145 of the more than 200 stores that embraced the code of conduct. The monitor found that 144 were paying minimum wage and overtime after two monitoring visits. In addition, the vast majority of those stores were also providing vacation and sick days to employees, as well as uninterrupted meal breaks.

Labor leaders working in the greengrocer industry agree that the code has raised standards in participating stores and has had a ripple effect, improving conditions even in stores which have not signed the code.

The Attorney General's Office believes, however, that there are continued minimum wage and overtime problems in the greengrocer industry, especially in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.