Nov. 15, 2017 By Tara Law
Workers who have been on strike at four Queens Foodtown supermarkets—including one in Jackson Heights—went back to work Friday after reaching a tentative agreement with their employer.
The employees, consisting of 35 meat and deli workers, went on strike on Nov. 2 against Ferreria Foodtown, which operates supermarkets in Queens and Long Island, to demand a new contract and pay increases. The employees have been working without a contract for five years.
The Foodtowns involved in the strike are located at 76-10 37th Ave in Jackson Heights; 173-09 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica; 84-5 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica; and 3367 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park.
Kate McDowell, the spokesperson for union UCFW Local 342 that represents the workers, said that the employees had reached a preliminary deal with their employer during talks late on Thursday. The employees agreed to return to work “pending positive progress,” she said.
McDowell said that the employees negotiated for fair wage increases that would retroactively encompass the five years they worked without a contract; premium pay increases for work on Sundays; and other benefits. McDowell did not disclose dollar amounts.
“A strike is always the last thing employees and a union want to get involved in. It’s a last resort,” said McDowell. “The members were fed up with the situation.”
The strike followed a walk out on Oct. 27, McDowell said. The workers walked out for two hours, but returned to work after their employer scheduled a date to negotiate a new contract. The Nov. 2 strike commenced after these talks collapsed.