Waldbaum's parent company announced Monday that it will close six Long Island stores, which have been identified as underperforming.
Employees at Waldbaum's in Rockville Centre, East Islip, West Babylon, Lake Ronkonkoma, Huntington Station and the store on Vanderbilt Parkway in Commack were informed of the closures Monday morning, a union official said. The six supermarkets are among 14 closures in four states announced by A&P, which hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"As part of our preparations to emerge from Chapter 11, we have decided to close these 14 underperforming locations," Sam Martin, A&P chief executive, said in a news release. "While this was a very difficult decision that will unfortunately impact some of our customers, partners, associates and surrounding communities, these actions are absolutely necessary to strengthen A&P's operating foundation."
A&P filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, asking for approval to shutter the stores.
How many of the stores' employees will lose their jobs remains unclear, said John Durso, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 338. The union represents about 300 workers at five of the six stores. About 65 of them are full-time employees. Workers at the Commack store are represented by UFCW, Local 342.
Local 338 is still negotiating a buyout agreement for its contract. Durso is hopeful that a buyout program as well as its efforts to place members in openings at other stores will make the process "as painless as possible."
Closures are expected to take place by mid-March, he said.
"That will give us time to make sure all of our members are protected, their seniority is protected and benefits are protected," Durso said.