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How FreshDirect Delivers Misery Along With Your Groceries--And How Workers and the Community are Fighting Back

The upscale grocery delivery service pays less than $9 an hour, has faced discrimination complaints, and is a union-buster--so why is New York giving it a handout?

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Despite claims that the area is non-residential and thus wouldn't disturb the community or add to the air quality problems, Johnson said there are 400 housing units nearby, and that the whole area has been rezoned as a mixed-use area so that residents can live and work in the same spaces.

The biggest problem with the FreshDirect move, Johnson said, is that none of the promises the company had to make to the city are binding. And while officials might talk tough about recouping subsidies if the corporation doesn't come through, Michael Powell pressed the president of the public Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation as to whether she'd ever done so before. The answer was no.

New York City residents, like people around the country, continue to struggle with a rough economy, stagnant wages and rising cost of living. Do they really need to hand out millions in deals to corporations that, despite a shiny quasi-progressive reputation, are just perpetuating a race to the bottom on wages, exploiting workers and relying on corporate welfare to rake in the profits?

Mychal Johnson and Bronx residents think not. “Enough is enough, that's why we're standing up.” 

Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch.