Supermarket Workers Worry Over Job Security
Workers at local Pathmark and Waldbaum’s Supermarkets are walking a tightrope, wondering if a bankruptcy filing by parent company, Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. (A&P) is putting their jobs in jeopardy.
The waiting game began last December after A&P filed for bankruptcy, putting Pathmark and Waldbaum’s supermarkets at risk.
Since that filing, the supermarket operator submitted proposals to local unions outlining a list of amendments to their current contracts – including a “general”, five-year wage freeze, wage reductions from several local unions and collective bargaining agents, revisions of the way stores are closed, as well as layoffs and severance payments.
A spokesperson for the union representing more than 2,300 grocery workers city wide said negotiations must balance the needs of both management and union members.
“We understand things are not going well for A&P,” union representative Patrick Purcell said. “But any sacrifice has to go both ways. We are willing to compromise, but we don’t want to give in,” said Purcell, who represents the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500.
A&P officials, on August 16, filed a second request with a bankruptcy judge, asking the court to extend its exclusive right to propose a Chapter 11 plan until January 16, 2012. A spokesperson for the once-mighty supermarket operator said A&P must achieve substantial cost savings through labor cost reductions in order to emerge from the Chapter 11 filing.
Meanwhile, Pathmark and Waldbaum’s stores throughout Queens would remain open with fully stocked shelves and the continuation of “outstanding cost savings and customer services that are part of our trademark”, the operator said.