To the editor:
(re: “Union workers want jobs back at Key Food,” July 30)
I would like to challenge a claim made by the current owner of Key Food on Riverdale Avenue.
My brother, Christopher Casey, started at this location as a part-time worker for Daitch Shopwell. He has been working at this same store through four owners — not including NR Shop LLC, the current owner — for 34 years. He has mental challenges along with severe hearing loss.
He is a fixture in the local area and known by many North Riverdale residents as a sweet, helpful worker.
According to the quote in this newspaper, the current owners’ spokesperson claims their company “offered all employees that were employed with the old store at the time of closing jobs at the same rate of pay.” I can only speak for my brother’s series of events, but he was told on June 29 that “tomorrow will be your last day,” and after 34 years, he’s fired with one day’s notice.
My brother and I visited the store that Friday, and we spoke to the manager, Mr. Luna. He said the store is closing but may reopen soon. I asked him if Chris will be rehired, and he said, “I don’t know, but there won’t be any union.”
After the store reopened a few weeks later, Chris’ union rep Ray Forbs called to tell me that all fired workers would be getting a letter offering reinstatement immediately with the store. He never got that letter, so Chris and I went to see the new manager. I told him we hadn’t received the letter, but he’s here asking for his job back.
The manager said, “Oh yeah, but not now.” I asked when? He said, “a month or two.” I said that’s not what we were told, and he basically just continued saying the same thing.
I said, “OK, if a month goes by, we’ll be right back here asking for his job back.”
A lawyer called me from the National Labor Relations Board, and I gave him the information he asked for. As of this letter writing, Sept. 20, Chris is still without that job that gave him dignity, friends, and a sense of purpose in North Riverdale, where he’s lived in the same apartment for his entire 60 years.