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Two City Council members joined a crowd of more than 50 meat department members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 342 at a March 25 rally held in front of a Trade Fair store in the Queens County neighborhood of East Elmhurst, N.Y., to call for an end to a nearly two-week lockout of almost 100 meat workers.
Since March 13, the workers have since been maintaining daily 24-hour picket lines at all nine Trade Fair stores throughout Queens. Mineola, N.Y.-based Local 342, which represents nearly 10,000 members working in supermarkets as well as a variety of other food industries in the area, has filed several Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the company. Charges include intimidation, threats of termination, harassment, assault, and coercing of union workers and representatives for exercising their rights as union members.
“We believe Trade Fair’s behavior, including actions related to disrespectful treatment of union members, and harassment of locked out workers on the picket line, are not only unacceptable, but an embarrassment to the Queens community,” said Local 342 spokeswoman Kate Meckler. “We will continue to explore every legal venue to ensure that these members are returned to work, and treated fairly under the law.”
During the rally, council members Julissa Ferreras and Daniel Dromm both demanded that Trade Fair’s management end the lockout. Echoing their sentiments, City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn said after the event: “We urge all parties to negotiate in good faith and respect the collective-bargaining process. These jobs are an important part of what makes New York City a vibrant and attractive place where people want to make their homes and raise their families.”