EAST MEADOW, NY: On July 30, workers from Lidl’s Best Market stores rallied with New York State Senators Jim Gaughran, John Brooks, Anna Kaplan, Kevin Thomas, and Monica Martinez, New York State Assembly Members Michelle Solages, and Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, and over 150 women attending the United Association of Labor Educators (UALE) Northeast Summer School for Working Women, and community members to call attention to the fact that women are much less likely than men to hold store-level leadership positions within the company’s Best Market stores.
Dozens of workers from Lidl’s Best Market stores took personal time off work to attend the rally.
Rally attendees also delivered a letter addressed to Lidl U.S. President and CEO Johannes Fieber that asks him to explain the unequal leadership structure and immediately provide better jobs and opportunities for all employees.
“When women can’t reach management positions, our wages, families, and communities all suffer,” said Ashley Geyer, who works in prepared foods at Lidl’s Best Market store in Selden. “We aren’t asking for the world, only for a clear and equal opportunity to advance our careers and improve our lives.”
“I’m never working the same number of hours or shifts and my struggles with scheduling are not unique,” said Jill Cooley, who works in the bakery at Lidl’s Best Market store in Astoria. “Many of my coworkers complain about how difficult is to arrange childcare, go to school or attend family events because their schedules are always shifting. People simply can’t live a good life when it’s a mystery what hours or days they’ll be working the next week. Long Island deserves better jobs than the ones Lidl is currently providing.”
“It is imperative that women have access to the same employment opportunities as their male counterparts,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James. “I stand with these workers to demand that Lidl not only recognize this glaring gender disparity but take real steps to address it and change it.”
“Long Island families depend on consistent paychecks and fair employment practices from the region’s major employers—and Lidl must meet those necessary standards” said State Senator Todd Kaminsky. “I support the grocery workers in their fight for these basic protections, and stand with them against economic insecurity and corporate indifference.”
“The hard-working men and women who keep our grocery stores running and our families fed deserve fair wages and benefits to be able to put food on their own tables,” said State Senator James Gaughran. “As we welcome Lidl to our neighborhood, our message is unequivocal – Lidl must improve wages and benefits and provide a dignified working environment for their thousands of employees. Anything short of this is unacceptable.”
“I stand with Lidl/Best Market employees, their families, and all those who work hard every day to keep our grocery stores running,” said State Senator Kevin Thomas. “This is an opportunity for Lidl to demonstrate its commitment to employees and the greater community. I’m calling on Lidl to do right by our neighbors and provide workers with the compensation, benefits, and fair labor conditions they deserve.”
“As a union member, I believe all employees are entitled to fair and equitable treatment and a collective voice on the job,” said State Senator Monica R. Martinez. “All people, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status should receive equal pay for equal work and treatment. I am proud to stand with the members of Best Market/Lidl as they advocate for their rights.”
“Lidl may be new to the neighborhood, but the thousands of hard-working Long Islanders who run their Best Market stores are not—they are members of our community and they deserve a living wage, an opportunity for advancement regardless of gender, and the stability of consistent hours and wages,” said State Senator Anna M. Kaplan. “I’m calling on Lidl to demonstrate their commitment to our community by elevating their standards and treating their workers—our neighbors—with the respect they have earned and the opportunities they deserve.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, said, “We need to make sure all workers are treated with dignity and respect. I recently spoke with leaders from Lidl and have encouraged them to constructively address the concerns of their employees.”
Photos: Liz Eastman
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