The union representing 1,400 workers who've been on strike at the Hunts Point Produce Market for nearly a week have reached a tentative agreement that requires sign off from the members, the union announced Friday.
Members with Teamsters Local 202, made up of warehouse employees and drivers at the mammoth site, are expected to meet Saturday morning to decide whether they'll agree to the contract terms reached by negotiating teams from both sides. If approved, workers will be heading back to work on Sunday.
The agreement will also avert worries that the supply of produce—where 60% of the city's fresh fruits and vegetables come from the distribution center in the South Bronx—would be dramatically reduced.
“Negotiators for Teamster Local 202 have reached tentative agreement on a new contract with the Hunts Point Produce Market management," Daniel Kane Jr., president of Teamsters Local 202, said in a statement. "We will be presenting the agreement to our members tomorrow for a vote to settle the strike.”
At an impromptu rally following the announcement, Bronx/Queens Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who visited workers at the picket line Wednesday night, praised workers for holding the line.
"You have created a model for this country," Ocasio-Cortez told supporters.
Details of the tentative agreement were not released.
The union, whose workers made between $18 to $22, had been asking for a $1.60 raise—$1 of which would go towards an hourly wage boost and a 60-cent bump toward their health care coverage—but the company had provided a counter offer of a 32-cent increase and a 60-cent hourly increase to go toward their health care coverage. Teamsters justified their request for an increase to serve as a kind of thank you to workers who kept working during the height of the pandemic, which had claimed the lives of six workers and sickened several of them. Owners for the Hunts Point Produce Market consistently blamed that the economic downturn as a reason for not honoring the union's request for an increase.
At 12:01 a.m. on January 17th, the moment the union's three-year contract expired, workers walked off the job and headed to the picket line, the first time the union had done so at the site since 1986. For every day workers were on strike, they lost a day's pay.
The strike attracted a slew of lawmakers who supported the union's strike and their calls for greater equity. They included Ocasio-Cortez and Ritchie Torres, who co-wrote a letter asking the U.S. Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board to probe conditions at the site.
Early Tuesday morning, six workers were arrested after blocking a truck from entering the site.