Spoiled fruit: Rossman’s hit for stiffing workers

The Brooklyn Paper
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One of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets for cheap fruits and vegetables may be forced to raise its stunning low prices after the Labor Department ordered it to pay nearly $700,000 in back wages to workers who were not paid minimum wage and overtime.

Rossman Fruit and Vegetable, a warehouse-priced produce stand under the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway that attracts produce-hungry residents from Sunset Park as well as bargain-hungry Park Slopers, has already begun paying $675,000 in back wages and interest to 222 employees, the Labor Department said this week.

According to the 2004 lawsuit, employees at Rossman Farm, which is at Third Avenue and 22nd Street, were overworked and underpaid — and when federal officials questioned the management, they discovered that the fruit store did not keep accurate records of its employees’ hours.

Federal law requires non-professional workers to be paid time-and-a-half for all hours above 40 per week, but there was no evidence that Rossman Farm was doing that.

“Now we know why they were able to charge such low prices!” said one regular Rossman’s shopper, a Park Slope resident who declined to give her name because she says she intends to keep shopping at the store “despite the moral problem I have with them stiffing their workers.”

Labor Department spokesman John Chavez would neither confirm nor deny a link between the low prices and the low wages, saying only that Rossman’s owner, Nitzan Rozman, was up to date on his installment payments.

A man answering the phone at Rossman’s told a Brooklyn Paper reporter that the owner was out of the country and could not be reached.

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Reader Feedback

delilah says:
hello i love this article. it helped me alot on my science project and i got a good grade thnx.
Oct. 26, 2007, 9:06 am
bernardcrown from crown higth says:
They is more fruits whosale store still not pay mlnumum wage right in bk
Sept. 2, 2013, 5:53 pm

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