Hunts Point Produce Market workers set to strike as negotiations break down
The unionized workers at Hunts Point Produce Market are set to strike on Sunday after they say negotiations broke down on the back of a “stingy” offer by market management.
Members of Teamsters Local 202 voted to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
A release from the union says that 1,400 members of Local 202 “have kept New York fed through the pandemic.”
“The majority of the workers have an average base salary between $18 and $21 an hour. Employers in the market, who collectively bill billions of dollars in annual sales, received more than $15 million in forgivable PPP loans during the pandemic,” according to the release.
The union is expected to hold a news conference on Sunday outside the market at 11 a.m.
The Hunts Point Produce Market Cooperative released a statement on the labor negotiations:
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on our business – last spring we were down 30%. But we made a commitment to keeping the fresh produce flowing to our region and to keep our employees safe while having the opportunity to continue to work earning fair pay and benefits during this difficult time. The Co-op members and their firms have invested nearly $3 mil in personal protective equipment and changes to our operations to maximize the protection of our workers and customers."
The statement continued, "We are very proud to have kept our union workers – the vast majority of whom live right here in the Bronx - working and on payroll with full health benefits as the Bronx has seen an unemployment rate of 40%. Even with the continued uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we are offering our dedicated workers wage and benefit increases over the next three years that are a multiple of the current annual cost of living. We are continuing to negotiate in good faith with the Union to keep our workers on the job and produce available in our region.”