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Union Picketing New Budwey Store in North Buffalo

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Another labor dispute is brewing in Buffalo. This time it involves a local supermarket and the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

For several days, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local One have staged informational pickets outside Budwey's Supermarket on Kenmore Avenue in Buffalo. The store just opened this summer. But unlike the long-time Budwey's in North Tonawanda, the city store is non-union.

Union representative Greg Gorea says Kenmore workers are not being offered fair benefits. He also believes owner Frank Budwey is actually trying to break the union at his North Tonawanda store.

"Mr. Budwey has a program set to get rid of the union and his North Tonawanda store," Gorea said. "He has kept the union out of his store in Kenmore."

But Frank Budwey says that's not true.

"Break the union at the North Tonawanda store? First of all, let me tell you, it was the employees that tried to break the union at the North Tonawanda store," Budwey responded.

Budwey says his employees actually receive better benefits then workers at his union store and that he pays 100 percent of their health care. But Gorea says Kenmore Avenue workers are confused.

"When you ask employees about the health care plan, they have no idea what plan it is," Gorea said.

But Budwey tells WBFO News if the Kenmore Avenue store workers want to join the union, it is up to them.

"If my employees want a union,they are welcome to have a union," Budwey said. "I will sit down and negotiate with them just like I do with the workers in North Tonawanda."

Budwey sent a letter to the union warning to keep off his property on Kenmore Avenue or he will have them arrested. But the union says it won't stop its informational pickets.