For immediate release
June 23, 2023
As of April, only 66 out of the 650 Levy workers at Barclays got health insurance from their employer; many workers are paid less than $19 an hour
Brooklyn, NY — Levy food service workers who feed Barclays Center rallied nearby to set a strike authorization vote for July 17. Levy workers at the Brooklyn arena, represented by hospitality workers union UNITE HERE Local 100, have been in negotiations for a new union contract and demand raises and healthcare from their employer.
“I’ve been a Levy suite attendant since day one at Barclays. I had health insurance that saved my life when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, but since then I’ve lost it because I can’t make enough hours to qualify. I’m paying for my medical care out of pocket. How can you give 10 years of your life to a company and not have insurance? If I’m good enough to serve your VIPs, I’m good enough for insurance. We all are. Levy tells us to pick a home and we’ve picked Barclays. They’ve got our loyalty, but what have we gotten in return?” said Janine Mendez, who has worked at Levy at Barclays since it opened in 2012.
Levy workers have had an expired contract since August 31, 2022. As of April, only 66 out of the 650 Levy workers at Barclays worked enough hours to qualify for health insurance from their employer. Jobs like cashier, dishwasher, barback, and food runner are paid less than $19 an hour. As rent and other necessities continue to climb in Brooklyn, Levy workers need a new contract to stay and thrive in their city.
“I live in Brooklyn and this was supposed to be a great job for me. When I first started at Levy, I was so excited to have pay and benefits that meant I could work only one job. Because of the pay and the hours, I’m still working my second job at the supermarket. With the price of food and rent, with the cost of living in Brooklyn, I need a real raise from Levy,” said Juanita Jacox, a concessions stand lead at Levy at Barclays.
“Brooklyn workers built this place up to what it is today. They deserve more from Levy, period, and the time to deliver on that is now. I know our members are prepared to strike if necessary to win the healthcare and the raises they need,” said UNITE HERE Local 100 President José Maldonado.
UNITE HERE Local 100 represents over 17,000 service workers in cafeterias, restaurants, bars, delis, airports, and sports and exhibition arenas throughout New York City, Long Island and Northern New Jersey – including Levy workers at Barclays Center.