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Produce handlers strike at Hunts Point

Workers are demanding a $1/hour pay raise and 60 cents/hour to maintain their heath care benefits, according to the Teamsters.

Produce handlers, represented by Teamsters Local 202, are on strike at New York’s Hunts Point Produce Terminal.

The strike began Sunday, January 17, according to a statement posted by Teamsters Joint Council 16.

Workers are demanding a $1/hour pay raise and 60 cents/hour to maintain their heath care benefits, according to the Teamsters, which says the workers have “kept New York fed through the pandemic as employers cashed more than $15 million in forgivable PPP loans.”

“The majority of the workers have an average base salary between $18 and $21 an hour,” the statement said. “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.”

The Hunts Point Market said in a statement they “remain committed to employees.”

“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,” the statement, published by NY 1 said. “We are continuing to negotiate in good faith with the Union to keep our workers on the job and produce available in our region.”

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.