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Trade Fair? More like Un-Fair!

NYHTC - March 20, 2013 Share/Save/Bookmark

Our members who live in Queens have likely seen workers protesting in front of Trade Fair Supermarkets for the past week. What they might not know is that Trade Fair Supermarkets have locked out meat workers at nine locations after a year long fight with the workers in which Trade Fair has allegedly committed multiple unfair labor practices and asked for outrageous contract concessions.

Trade Fair is a Queens supermarket chain with locations in Flushing, Jackson Heights, Richmond HIll, Astoria and Long Island City. It markets itself as a budget grocery store that offers "Foods of all Nations," unavailable in typical supermarkets.

One hundred workers, represented by UFCW Local 342, were locked out by Trade Fair management on Wednesday, March 13th. This came after a year of tough negotiations with management. According to workers and Local 342 staff, Trade Fair management is seeking numerous and extensive concessions in the new contract, including a proposal to reduce all workers to a 24-hour/week schedule, thereby making full-time workers part-time. Additionally, management is proposing to gut their current health care plan, implement a wage freeze, and take away Sunday premium-pay from workers. In it's message to the public, Trade Fair management justifies these actions by saying that they are trying to "keep their prices competitive".

Prior to the lock-out, workers were illegally retaliated against by Trade Fair management for leafletting the public on their off-work hours, according to Local 342 staff. They further report that Trade Fair management has committed several unfair labor practices including: threatening, intimidating, and even firing workers who had been engaged in activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

We urge all our members who live and shop in Queens not to patronize Trade Fair Supermarkets until they have resolved the alleged ULPs they committed and negotiate a fair contract with their meat workers. There is an online petition people can sign to support the Trade Fair meat workers at Change.org. Additionally, our members can follow the lead of former Plaza Athenee employee and HTC member, Arturo Espinosa, and volunteer on the picket line with locked-out workers at any of the Trade Fair locations in Queens.