Monday, April 12, 2010

Senator Gillibrand Announces National Effort to Bring Fresh Food and Good Jobs to NYC



(NEW YORK, NY) – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) proudly announces its support for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative legislation introduced today by New York legislators Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez (D-NY). 

The legislation will provide $1 billion through loans and grants to help build approximately 2,100 new grocery stores in high need areas across the country, including an estimated 273 stores in New York City. The initiative would create an estimated 200,000 new jobs nationally.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a critical part of rejuvenating and revitalizing underserved neighborhoods both in terms of food quality and quality jobs that can support a family. 

New York-based UFCW Local 1500 is a leading partner in the New York FRESH Initiative which serves as a model for the national legislation and has successfully launched two major supermarkets into previously underserved areas in the Bronx.  Those supermarkets also added hundreds of new jobs and subsequent income to area residents.

Supermarkets act as anchors for economic development in a neighborhood.  In community after community, good supermarket jobs provide workers with good wages, career opportunities and most importantly, quality health care coverage that is key to a healthy lifestyle.   UFCW members in New York and across the U.S. take pride in serving their customers with good food.   This national legislation will provide needed funding to expand those opportunities into even more markets.

The UFCW applauds Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Velasquez for their vision in bringing worker organizations together with the economic development leaders and health policy advocates to ensure that new food outlets also provide good career jobs and training opportunities for new employees.

We believe that working together works.  With the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, we will:
·        Create new jobs from building new supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods;
·        Create new jobs from operating those stores; and
·        Create new jobs from related development which will grow up and around the new stores.

All the while, providing millions of residents with access to good, healthy, affordable food.


United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Queens Village, represents over 23,000 grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties and New Jersey. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Fairway, D’agastinos, Key Food and Shop Rite.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, with over 1 million in the retail food industry. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream.

For more information, contact Pat Purcell, UFCW Local 1500 at 973-583-9651 or Jill Cashen, UFCW, 202-728-4797 or email
UFCW News Service
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