Hunts Point Produce Market strike comes to an end

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Hunts Point Produce Market strike comes to an end

Workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx approved a new three-year contract that includes a pay increase and more money for health coverage, ending a strike on Saturday.

The contract comes after an almost week-long strike of about 1,400 workers, who are members of Teamsters Local 202, walked off the job at the Bronx market on Jan. 17.

The strike resulted after negotiations broke down over a request of a US$1 an hour raise when management counteroffered a 32-cent hourly raise instead, according to The City.

The deal touts a raise totaling $1.85 per hour over three years, including an increase of 70 cents per hour in the first year.

Management will also make contributions of 40 cents per hour to employee healthcare.

“That will push most of the workforce past $20 an hour,” Teamsters Local 202 President Daniel J. Kane Jr. told The City.

“Some of us can get a little bit of safe harbor by working from home or telecommuting, while these folks cannot do that.”

As the strike ended, celebrations took place outside the market’s main gates.

“We fought hard, we did it,” worker Luis Rivera told The City. “I hope this inspires people all over the city, all over the country to fight for what they believe in.”

His colleague Jose Garcia told The City the deal is a triumph for “essential workers everywhere.”

“This was a victory won by our struggle and all the people who came and supported us this week.”

Support was garnered from other unions and Teamsters locals, U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, public advocates, assemblymembers and Governor Andrew Cuomo also reached out.

More than 210 million pounds or 60 percent of the city’s produce pass through the market each year, distributing and supplying New York’s five boroughs and the greater metropolitan region. 

The market remained open during the strike, employing temporary workers and using police and private security to safeguard delivery trucks.

Several strikers were arrested for blocking the road while picketing.

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