Workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market could be on strike as early as next week after the union representing 1,200 employees at the Bronx wholesale market rejected a contract offered by the cooperative that runs it earlier this week.
Danny Kane, president of the local Teamsters Union, said that with $2.2 billion in revenue last year, the co-op should be able to afford to give workers what he sees as their fair share.
“These employers now are very, very wealthy multi-millionaires and they don’t want to share with the employees that create all the wealth,” said Kane.
Bob Leonard, spokesman for the owners, declined to comment on the management’s profits. He said the economy is still rocky and that the co-op’s offer is fair, especially since the majority of union employees at the market work the night shift and make 30 percent more than the negotiated rate.
In negotiations on Tuesday, Kane floated a $1.20 an hour increase to the co-op, and is willing to negotiate down from there. The proposed three-year contract offered a 15-cent-an-hour pay increase each year and a $700 one-time bonus.
If there is a strike, Leonard said contingency plans are in place so produce can still reach customers.
“We are committed to continuing to provide fresh produce and vegetables to the communities we serve, not only in New York City but across the region,” he said. “Even in the case of a strike.”
The Hunts Point Market is one of the largest wholesale produce market in the country and provides two-thirds of all the produce for the New York City metropolitan area.