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‘I have to budget down to the penny’: United Metro Energy employees remain on strike over wages, benefits

Employees of a Greenpoint fuel company are on the 10th day of a strike as they continue to ask for changes to their wages and benefits

News 12 Staff

Apr 30, 2021, 9:50 PM

Updated 1,147 days ago

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Employees of a Greenpoint fuel company are on the 10th day of a strike as they continue to ask for changes to their wages and benefits.
 
Nearly a dozen workers of United Metro Energy stood outside of the Brooklyn facility Friday holding signs demanding a pay raise, pension and better health care. Andrew Soleyn worked at the facility for five years and says he can barely care for his three daughters.
“I want to be able to adequately provide for them,” Soleyn says. “On these wages, I can’t. I have to budget down to the penny.”
Workers say their union Teamsters Local 553 have been in ongoing negotiations with the company for two years, hoping to get a union contract that would give the workers industry standard wages and benefits.
Representatives for the union say the company has been reluctant to agree to the benefits that the workers are seeking. John Catsimatdis, the head of Red Apple Group Inc. that owns United Metro Energy, tells News 12 that another group with the company represented by the same union settled on a contract recently.
“We want to be fair,” Catsimatdis says. “We are negotiating in good faith and we hope that it will be settled as soon as possible.”
The union says they have not come to an agreement because the contract is not one size fits all.
The workers say they will be out as long as it takes to get what they are demanding.


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