We were proud and happy to stand with the thousands of essential workers at the Hunts Point Distribution Center, home to the largest wholesale produce market in the world, during their seven-day strike for higher wages. And even happier when they won a significant increase in their new three-year contract announced last week.
But the work doesn’t stop there — not for Teamsters Local 202, which represents a third of the employees at the site — or the vendors, the center’s management, and the Hunts Point Cooperative Board.
The next step has got to be a comprehensive renovation of the site to make it safer for workers and the surrounding neighborhood, which like much of the rest of the Bronx suffers from poor air quality and heightened asthma rates.
We appreciate the thousands of jobs that Hunts Point offers and its powerful position in the food chain, connecting farmers to critical markets, and all of us fed, during the pandemic and throughout the last 60 years. But the hundreds of trucks going in and out daily contribute to an enormous particulate load in the area’s atmosphere, and the center itself stands on low ground, easily threatened by rising sea levels.
The victory at Hunts Point is worth celebrating, and we appreciate the role Governor Cuomo played in bringing both sides to the table and ending a cold, winter strike quickly. For the moment, we’ve won greater equity. Now, let’s turn our attention to creating resilience and real sustainability for Hunts Point.