February 24, 2012
Adolfo Carrion’s comments about retail workers to Capital New York were deeply misinformed and completely out of touch with reality. Carrion said “retail jobs go to relatively young people, semi-retired people, students; that they are not career positions and that people don’t aspire to work at places like Modells.” Carrion got it exactly wrong. The reality is that most retail workers in New York City are adults who rely on their jobs to support families.
The retail workers we represent at Modells and other stores are talented professionals who are following a chosen career path. A landmark study on retail workers in New York City conducted by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that “the vast majority—78 percent—are 25 years or older, and half are 35 years or older. Four out of five work fulltime. In many cases, their earnings are vital to their families’ well being. In families with children, retail workers’ earnings contribute on average 56 percent of the family’s earned income, and more than a third of these workers are their family’s sole provider. Ninety thousand children in the city have parents employed in retail.”
I invite Carrion to talk with the retail workers we represent at Modells and other stores in New York City, and to listen to their stories. It’s an open invitation, and I sincerely hope he accepts it.