Workers at a Bayside supermarket joined colleagues around the city in taking their frustration with their employer to the streets.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342 (Local 342) is conducting an unfair labor practice strike against certain Key Food and Food Universe stores. The labor union submitted a series of complaints to the National Labor Relations Board in June, which were honored and scheduled for trial in September.
The charges are being filed against the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P), parent company of all Pathmark, Waldbaum’s and Food Universe grocery stores. A&P filed for bankruptcy in July 2015, resulting in laying off Key Food workers and more.
According to Kate McDowell, communications specialist at Local 342, the allegations include A&P’s failure to abide by their contract with union workers who collectively bargained with the representatives. A&P allegedly terminated and discriminated against union employees and failed to rehire them. Furthermore, Key Food workers had their hours and wages reduced in certain circumstances while some employees faced demotion.
“As a Local 342, our stance is that we expect the Key Food owners to bargain collectively with us in good faith and to reinstate the employees who they have wrongfully terminated and discriminated against for participating in union activity,” McDowell told QNS on Wednesday.
The union has turned their injustice to action by striking outside of several Food Universe locations throughout Bayside, Jackson Heights, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Below is a flyer that has been circulated to shoppers outside of Bayside’s Food Universe at 35-09 Francis Lewis Blvd.
McDowell added that most landlords of the supermarkets have told the strikers to protest outside of the fence, while the Staten Island branch allowed strikers to stand in front of the store.
“We’ve received an incredible community response in all the areas where we’ve been striking and we’re very grateful for their support of the Key Food workers,” she said.
QNS contacted Key Food Stores Cooperative and they refused to comment.