Pay, hours and the future of Best Market stores under its new ownership brought a handful of workers to push their concerns at the Huntington Station store on Tuesday.
Workers said the store would shut down sometime in July until December as Lidl US, the new owner, renovates the store. A handful of workers from other Best Market storse asked customers to sign a petition supporting employees, who fear that the company won’t keep a promise to maintain pay levecls and work for those on the payroll before Jan. 2.
The renovations will mean significant changes in how all the stores operate, making some employees fearful about their future. Those protesting complained that they weren’t being told what was happening, and that “customers like the stores the way they are.”
But company spokesman William Harwood said the company is conducting extensive conversations with Huntington Station and West Babylon store employees, where renovations will happen first, to ensure employees understand the company’s commitment.
“We’re going through the process and having individualized conversation is that it’s very, very positive,” he said. “Then there’s a plan to reinvest in these stores, building them up with brand new equipment, building on the team with many familiar faces. We’re proud of this investment.”
He also said the date of the store’s shutdown isn’t set yet.
Though Best Market workers aren’t unionized, two representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union helped organize Tuesday’s petition effort.
The former Waldbaum’s store became a Best Market in 2012. Lidl US bought the Best Market chain in November 2018.