Hunts Point Produce Market Workers Union enters day 5 of strike

The Hunts Point Produce Market strike enters day five today and the employees have no plans to go home.

About 1,400 warehouse workers, drivers and other members of Teamsters Local 202 went on strike Saturday after the companies failed to offer more than a small fraction of the raise workers need. Hunts Point Market employers received $15 million in forgivable PPP loans from the federal government.

The Teamsters want respect from management and a 32 cent raise—all they have so far been offered from management so far—is not going to cut it.

“They can use riot cops to get trucks into the market, but the workers they need to unload the trucks are still on the picket line,” said Daniel Kane, Jr., president of Teamsters Local 202 Kane. “We will stay on strike until these employers pay their workers the essential wage they deserve.”

On Monday, a few workers were arrested and given desk tickets for civil disobedience, but have since been released and returned to picket.

“These are the essential workers who went to work every day through the worst of the pandemic to feed New York,” Kane said. “All they are asking for is a dollar-an-hour raise so they can feed their families too. The fact that they were arrested on Martin Luther King Day reminds us what side of history we are on.”

Anthony Rosa, secretary treasurer of the union, has been there 30 years and is prepared to strike as long as is needed.

This is his second family and out there picketing has worked and risked their lives during the pandemic.

“I love these people,” he told the Bronx Times. “These people are essential. We aren’t asking for an astronomical amount of money. We are asking them to say thank you to the union people for coming out during the pandemic and working to make you money.”

Teamsters 202 has a special place in the heart for Salamanca, as his father Rafael Salamanca Sr., worker there for 18 years. The councilman is disgusted with how the management is treating its employees.

The lawmaker wants the strike to end, but also knows the workers should be compensated fairly. On Tuesday, he called for a federal mediator to immediately facilitate meaningful dialogue.

‘The Hunts Point Markets are a vital source to the food we consume every day,:” Salamanca  stated. “Workers are on strike and negotiations have stopped. Therefore, I am calling for the intervention of a federal mediator in their ongoing labor negotiations. It is my hope that a mediator would assist in navigating past the barriers that both parties have encountered through the many hours at the negotiating table.”

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