MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Five of the New York metropolitan area's largest retailers could face a union strike if a new contract isn't reached, according to Nickolas Abondolo, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 342-50, based here.
More than 2,000 meat, deli and seafood employees located in stores in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island are being represented in these negotiations by Local 342-50.
Although contracts expired at midnight Oct. 21, negotiations have been ongoing for about six weeks. UFCW released a statement last week saying that the talks had "stalled." No information was provided about the issues involved.
The chains involved are Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J.; Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J.; King Kullen, Westbury, N.Y., and Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn. Members of the Elizabeth, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp., which operate under the ShopRite banner, are also part of the negotiations with UFCW but it could not be learned how many different Wakefern operators were involved.
"So far, the employers have put an inadequate offer on the table," said Abondolo in the statement. "Based on our assessment of what has been taking place, however, we believe that a strike is very possible."
A UFCW spokeswoman declined to comment further on the matter. The only retailer returning calls was Tom Cullen, vice president of government, industry and public relations at King Kullen, who could not discuss specifics of the bargaining issues.
Cullen said about 300 of King Kullen's meat and seafood employees are involved in the negotiations.
"King Kullen Grocery Co. is determined to continue negotiating in good faith with Local 342," said Cullen. "Our stores are fully stocked and merchandise is available and the meat department will continue to be fully staffed to serve our customers."
Abondolo noted that the sole factor influencing UFCW to continue negotiations has been the presence of Commissioner Jack Sweeney of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Washington, who "has urged both sides to try to narrow their differences and come up with a new collective bargaining agreement."