The most annoying parts of this annoying NYT article about New York and affordability:
“On the Upper West Side, where I live”
“A pair of sensible, unstylish walking flats from Harry’s Shoes can set you back $480.”
“I suppose, by comparison, that the $198 chef’s menu at Jean-Georges doesn’t sound so ridiculous.”
“people in different income classes do indeed have markedly different purchasing habits”
“it turns out that living in New York is actually a relative bargain for the wealthy.”
“Housing, after all, is absurdly expensive, even for the rich”
“Regardless, the rent burden isn’t actually as onerous as people assume”
“We see a sensible shoe with a $480 price tag or an oatmeal cookie for $4 and sometimes don’t register that these are luxury versions of normal items available from Payless or Entenmann’s”
“It’s a phenomenon known by some as affluenza”
“New York’s poor turn out to be even poorer than you think”
“Real estate is most crushing for all but those lucky enough to get into subsidized housing”
“I began to realize why, in part, New York seems so wealthy”
Cord Jefferson details cases of police negligence and indifference in poor neighborhoods. Upsetting, infuriating.
The raiteros don’t just transport workers. They also recruit them, decide who works and who doesn’t, and distribute paychecks.
And it’s the low-wage workers — not the temp agencies or their clients, corporate giants like Ty — who bear the cost. Officially, the raiteros’ fee, usually $8 a day, is for transportation. But, workers say, anyone who doesn’t pay doesn’t get work.
From this crowded barrio, raiteros ferry as many as 1,000 workers a day to warehouses and factories in Chicago and its suburbs. Many of these workers end up making about $6 an hour, well below Illinois’ minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, because of the fees and unpaid waiting time.
“If you complain too much, they won’t take you to work anymore,” said Maria Castro, a Mexican immigrant who has worked on and off for Ty.
That’s Ty, as in the company that produces Beanie Babies, which uses workers from temp agencies that use networks of labor brokers called “raiteros”. The raiteros often find groups of people looking for work on sidewalks—often Mexican immigrants—and then charge them fees for bringing them to work in warehouses (things like packing up products, or chopping vegetables for fast food restaurants or bagged salads). It’s very much illegal. Propublica’s investigation is my must-read this morning.