Workers strike at the Hunts Point Terminal Market. Source: Teamsters 202.

Produce Market workers agree in principle to new contract, ending strike

The Hunts Point Terminal Market workers’ strike appears to be over.

After more than six days on strike, the 1,400-plus workers represented by Local 202 agreed in principle on Jan. 23 to a new contract with the 300-plus businesses that supply veggies to bodegas and restaurants along the east coast, from the sprawling confines of the Hunts Point Terminal Market.

Workers argued that the businesses should spread around the $15M they were awarded last year by the federal government for the Payment Protection Program, by raising workers’ salaries by a dollar an hour. Several strikers were arrested on the picket line on Jan. 18, which led to widespread public support for the workers.

Ninety-seven percent of the workers voted to approve the new union contract, which the union says provides them the biggest raises in their history. They will be receiving a $1.85-per-hour boost over the next three years, and 40 cents per hour more toward health benefits.

Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr., a West Farms native whose late father was a member of Teamsters 202, had called for a federal mediator to step in and facilitate contract negotiations.

‘The dispute between our essential workers and the Markets was personal for me,” said Salamanca. “For the last 10 months, the workers at the Markets defined what it meant to be ‘essential,’ working day-in and day-out to ensure our critical food supply was not impacted during the pandemic.”

Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Salamanca on the picket line alongside the strikers, to draw attention to their demands in the days leading up to the settlement.

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