A group of Best Market workers concerned about the effect of the takeover by German supermarket chain Lidl.com are expressing concerns about their future.
Lidl announced its purchase of the 24 stores of the Long Island-owned chain on Nov.16, part of an aggressive strategy to add dozens of stores along the East Coast.
Among the questions posed by the Facebook group Do Better Best Market are whether Lidl will shut down the speciality departments, such as deli, seafood, prepared foods and sushi, and if so, what happens to those workers, whether Lidl will keep or reduce the workforce and their hours, and whether Lidl will shut down any Best Market stores.
William Harwood, Lidl’s director of communications, said Sunday that the company had promised “every current Best Market team member in New York and New Jersey, irrespective of their position today: they will have a place in the new Lidl US stores. We will offer all affected employees guaranteed positions at the new Lidl stores that offer pay and benefits that stay the same or get better.”
Before the purchase by Lidl, the Facebook group had been waging a campaign to improve safety, working conditions and wages at Best Market. And workers from various Stop & Shop, Fairway, ShopRite and King Kullen stores from around Long Island had offered them their support.
The group posted a copy of a letter sent last week to Johannes Fieber, chief executive officer of Lidl US.
When Best Market opened in the closed Waldbaum’s space in Huntington Station, it expanded its sushi and deli offerings. Earlier in November, Best Market had announced a $1-million remodeling of its East Northport store to expand product offerings.
In August, Lidl was ranked No. 3 by customers on list of best supermarket chains in the United States. It operates about 10,500 stores in 29 countries.