Benkovitz Seafoods Workers Strike after Contract Expires
Napsha, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Patricia Samarin, of McKees Rocks, walked the picket line Wednesday at the Benkovitz Seafoods store in Pittsburgh's Strip District, offering customers reasons not to shop at the business where she has worked for 28 years.
Samarin, a cashier, was one of about 22 workers at the store who walked off their jobs Wednesday morning in a contract dispute between the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 of Canonsburg and Nordic Holdings LLP, Benkovitz's parent company. The union's five-year contract with Nordic Holdings expired at midnight Tuesday.
The company's management operated the seafood store yesterday and intends to keep it open during the contract dispute, said Mike Roeschenthaler, Nordic Holdings' attorney. No negotiations are scheduled.
Nordic Holdings and the union disagreed on the reasons why a new deal wasn't reached.
The company offered to continue paying wages -- which range from $9 to $15 per hour -- and health care benefits under the expired agreement, Roeschenthaler said.
But, Ron Lenhart, president of UFCWU, said the union refused to sign a 15-day extension because Nordic Holdings demanded the union relinquish the rights of laid-off workers from the company's wholesale seafood business to three months of health and welfare coverage provided under the contract, plus unused vacation time and sick days. …