Hunts Point Market employees go on strike over failed contract negotiations with management
Hunts Point Market workers are officially on strike today after the union and management failed to reach an agreement on contract negotiations.
The strike authorization passed with a vote of 398 to 45 as the talks failed to lead to a raise sought by workers.
Union employees say that most of them make between $18 and $21 an hour while the market received more than $15 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic.
Workers say they are asking for a raise after helping to keep New York residents from going hungry during the pandemic. “Our base salaries are $40,000 a year,” says President of Local 202 Danny Kane. “We do not think that it is too much. In fact, they deserve a lot more.”
Some people brought their children to the strike, saying they wanted to show that hard working people deserve respect.
New York state Sen. Gustavo Rivera is supporting the employees, saying in part: “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these brave essential workers have dutifully performed their duties, putting their health and that of their families at risk in an effort to keep us fed during this unprecedented crisis.”
Rivera went on to call on the owners of the Hunts Point Produce Market to negotiate and “do right by their workers.”
A representative for the market says the pandemic has had a big impact on their business with sales dropping 30% since the spring.
In a statement, the market said, "The Hunts Point Produce Market remains open for business. Our top priority is maintaining the flow of fresh produce to our region. We have taken a number of steps, including coordinating with the NYPD and bringing in a private security firm, to assure safe access is maintained for trucks bringing fresh healthy produce in and out of the market, as well as for all who need to come purchase produce or are coming to work at the market."
The statement continues, "We are disappointed that the union walked away from the bargaining table more than a week ago and have chosen to focus instead on having employees walk off the job, which negatively impacts its members and the community."