Do you remember April when it suddenly became clear to everyone that workers in the food chain are important workers? A group of workers in the Bronx are trying to make amends when negotiating their next contract – and this leads to a strike as the bosses of the Hunts Point Produce Market reject workers’ demand for a $ 1 an hour increase additional help with healthcare costs. Union officials say hundreds of workers contracted COVID-19 and six died, but New York City got the food it needs – the 1,400 Teamsters workers in the market process around 60% of the city’s products.
“We’re working in a pandemic and now risking our lives every day and you want to give us less than you gave us the last time in a normal situation?” Union trustee Charles Machadio told Gothamist, referring to this management rhetoric the “persistent pandemic-related uncertainty “contrasts sharply with the fact that the produce market has remained consistently open, Machadio believes this is more than just a normal wage dispute: “I think they are using the pandemic to try to get out of the contract.”
The market offers 32 cents extra wages and 60 cents extra for health insurance.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gathered with the workers on Wednesday and said: “Our entire city must stand by our essential workers. And it’s not enough for us to just say it, and it’s not enough for, you know, we have to thank all the important workers, from our nurses to our food workers to the people who load the trucks. But it is not enough to say thank you. We need to support them in their demands for a better life. “