January 17, 2018 / 3:00 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Strike averted at New York's main fruit and vegetable market

(Adds details on contract from merchants’ association)

NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - A work stoppage at a market that supplies much of New York City’s fresh fruit and vegetables was averted early on Wednesday when negotiators tentatively reached a new pay deal, the labor union and merchants’ association said.

Employees at the sprawling Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market in the city’s Bronx borough had been prepared to go on strike for the first time since 1986 if there was no agreement before the previous contract expired at midnight.

The agreement reached overnight covers 1,100 warehouse workers, drivers and other employees belonging to the Teamsters Local 202 union.

The employees sort, load and unload produce for 35 merchants at the market, who are represented in negotiations by the New York Produce Trade Association.

The merchants’ employees would see wage and benefit increases of 11 percent over three years, Robert Leonard, who works at a public relations firm hired by the association, wrote in an email. He did not provide more details.

Teamsters spokesman Alex Moore declined to share details of the agreement, saying union members would vote on it later in the week.

“Workers are reporting to work as usual,” Moore wrote in an email.

The workers had previously rejected a management offer of a pay rise of 30 cents an hour.

The market serves as the city’s central distribution point for fruit and vegetables shipped in from all over the world and headed to grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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