Production workers in food manufacturing averaged $12.54 an hour, compared with $14.95 per hour for all workers in private industry in 2002. Weekly earnings among food manufacturing workers, were lower than average, $497 compared with $506 for all workers in private industry in 2002. Food manufacturing workers averaged about 39.6 hours a week, compared with only 33.9 for all workers in the private sector. Weekly earnings ranged from $334 in seafood product preparation and packaging plants to $802 in grain and oilseed milling plants. Hours worked play a large part in determining earnings. For example, grain- and oilseed-milling workers, who averaged 44.2 hours a week, had higher hourly and weekly earnings than did workers in bakeries and tortilla manufacturing companies, who averaged 36.8 hours a week.
In 2002, about 18 percent of workers in the food manufacturing industry belonged to a union or were covered by a union contract, compared with about 15 percent of all workers in the private sector. Prominent unions in the industry include the United Food and Commercial Workers; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.