Best Market Worker Stories
November 8, 2018
This story originally appeared in The Long Island Advance October 23, 2018
By Nicole Fuentes
Higher wages, better access to healthcare and safety training are just a few of the reasons Best Market workers across Long Island have been signing a petition with the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, sparking a Do Better Best Market movement for a better quality of life.
Best Market, located at 655 Montauk Highway in East Patchogue, opened about six years ago. Now, a total of 29 stores with about 2,500 workers in three states exist, with the majority on Long Island. About a year ago, workers began getting together searching for ways to improve their lives, and forming the movement that has been building for better wages, affordable healthcare and safety training. Since starting the petition, a number of elected officials have written letters of support, including Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue).
Calarco visited the East Patchogue location last week, on Aug. 16, to show his support. “I am here to let them know they have support in the county government,” he said during his visit. “We were all happy when they opened up here, but they need to treat their employees fairly with better wages and access to healthcare.”
August 8, 2018
My Name is Sean Hicks.
I’m the assistant meat lead here at the East Patchogue Best Market. I’ve worked here for 10 years. My dad has also worked in the meat department my whole life. He works at another Long Island supermarket. He has always worked hard. His job was able to give our family a comfortable life growing up. We lived in our own home, and life was always stable. I started working at Best Market because I wanted the same kind of life for myself.
After 10 years here, I’m still only making about half of what my dad and all of his coworkers make at his store. The most important part of my life is my kids. My boys are 5 years old and 4 months old. It’s a struggle to support them. I pay about $200 every week for our healthcare. This doesn’t leave me near enough money to have our own home like we did when I was growing up. Instead we all live at my girlfriend’s parent’s home. We want to get married, but I want to wait till we can afford a real wedding. I don’t know if that can ever happen, because I’m not able to save any money with Best Market wages.
After 10 years here, I’m still only making about half of what my dad and all of his coworkers make at his store.
For the last few weeks, the meat manager has been on leave and I’ve done his job. I am running the department. We are supposed to get an extra $75 per week for this, which would help my family out a lot. When I asked management for the extra pay, I was told that I should “just step up to the plate and do it for free”.
It’s sad for me to watch a company like Best Market turn stable family supporting Long island Jobs into jobs where we can’t afford to live. Best Market is hurting my Family and Long Island.