Unionized members of Fresh Direct's team are set to receive wage increases as part of a settlement reached between the grocery delivery company and UFCW Local 2013. Members of the union, which include about half of Fresh Direct's workforce, will see wage increases bumped up around 20% over the next three years; according to the union, workers on the delivery and transportation force currently earn around $10.50 per hour, though Fresh Direct says it's closer to $12.53 per hour.
The company, which receives a sizeable subsidy for its recently approved new facility in the Bronx, had been compelled by city politicians to increase wages for workers as a balance to the sweet $128 million in tax breaks, grants and loans offered as incentive to keep the company in New York City. "I am very pleased that UFCW Local 2013 and FreshDirect were able to reach a new contract agreement," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement. "I am eager to see FreshDirect bring good jobs and great opportunity to the Bronx and this agreement is an important step in that process."
Also under the terms of the agreement are reductions in medical premiums by $450 for UFCW families employed by the company, a move that should make health care more affordable for nearly 1,000 workers. Unfortunately, the wage increases and medical benefit reductions don't extend to the non-unionized portion of Fresh Direct's workforce, which the Daily News points out are comprised of mostly minority women working the company's warehouses. The union hopes that further negotiations will push the women's wages over their current $8 per hour, though again, Fresh Direct says that warehouse workers earn closer to $13.44 per hour on average.