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Post date: December 13 2001

Spitzer Continues Efforts To Combat Wage Abuses In Greengroceries

State Attorney General Spitzer today announced a $100,000 settlement with a lower Manhattan greengrocery for failure to pay minimum and overtime wages to workers, most of whom are Mexican immigrants.

This settlement is the most recent example of the Attorney General's continuing efforts to combat pervasive labor law violations in the greengrocer industry. With 2,000 stores throughout New York City, greengrocers are one of the City's most common neighborhood fixtures.

"It' appalling that workers are laboring from sunrise to sunset and still earn far below a living wage," Spitzer said. "Although we have seen some improvements, we will aggressively continue to investigate and prosecute labor abuses in the greengrocer industry."

Jin Market, located at 111 Hudson Street in Manhattan, has agreed to pay $100,000 to 17 workers. Despite the fact that most of its employees worked between 44 - 72 hours per week, the owners of Jin Market paid employees wages as low as $2.78 per hour. Federal and state minimum wage laws require payment of $5.15 per hour and one-and one-half times that amount for work over 40 hours per week.

The owner of Jin Market has also agreed to submit to time and payroll records to the Attorney General's office for a period of two years to ensure future compliance with the law.

The settlement with Jin Market is the seventh that the Attorney General's Office has reached with stores. To date, those seven cases have resulted in back wages for workers totaling more than $700,000. The AG's Office is also continuing its education and reform campaign to help employers comply with state and federal requirements.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Terri Gerstein of the AG's Labor Bureau, which is under the direction of Bureau Chief M. Patricia Smith.