More than 4,000 Long Island workers are at risk of losing their jobs by Thanksgiving as the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. begins to close and sell its Waldbaum's and Pathmark stores on the Island as part of its bankruptcy.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says it won't have an accurate estimate of how many A&P workers will be unemployed due to store closures until the second round of store auctions concludes Friday.

So far, 25 Long Island stores have been bought or bid on, while 21 were still left to be auctioned and five are scheduled to close, records show.

"We are seeking meetings with new store owners to discuss the hiring of our dedicated members and have started negotiating agreements with some parties to secure the strong benefits and wages that our members have earned," UFCW spokeswoman Casey Hoag said Tuesday.

Stop & Shop has hired about 1,100 former Pathmark and Waldbaum's workers at the nine Long Island stores it acquired, Stop & Shop spokeswoman Arlene Putterman said Thursday.

John Candia, 28, of East Meadow, a part-time customer service supervisor at the Waldbaum's in Jericho, worries he will lose his only job. The LIU Post graduate, who has worked for the chain since 2007, said "it has been very difficult working the last three months.

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"It is very depressing, especially when people keep asking what is happening with the store," he said. "I never felt so betrayed and hurt and angry."

On Wednesday, more than 100 union members who may be displaced attended a resource fair at UFCW Local 1500's headquarters in Westbury. Some, dressed in business attire and carrying their resumes, interviewed with representatives of union grocery stores including Fairway, King Kullen, Greenfield ShopRite, Pick Quick Key Food and Healthplex.

Union members walked out with packets of information from the New York State Department of Labor and Nassau County Department of Social Services about resume writing, job search, obtaining new skills, unemployment benefits and health care.

Fair attendee Anthony Grappone, 54, of Levittown, an assistant manager in the deli of the Waldbaum's in Oceanside, said he has worked for the company for 33 years. His store is one of five on Long Island expected to close by the end of next week.

"You work for a company for thirty-something years and after thirty-something years you have to go out and look for a job," Grappone said. "It is not easy."

The unions will hold another resource fair on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 370 Motor Parkway in Hauppauge.

The fairs are "alleviating a lot of fear," Local 1500 spokesman Joseph Fedele said.

But the fear lingers for Sabitri Grappone, 58, wife of Anthony Grappone, who works as a bookkeeper and cashier at the Waldbaum's in Jericho. She gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition calling for the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the A&P case to block H Mart, a New Jersey-based Korean supermarket chain, from buying the Jericho store.

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"They are not going to hire us," said Sabitri Grappone, who has worked for A&P for 41 years.

H Mart did not respond to requests for comment. According to, H Mart looks for job applicants who have familiarity with Korean and Mandarin Chinese.

Westhampton Beach workers and residents have also filed a petition with the court opposing the sale of their Waldbaum's to Best Yet Market Inc., a family-owned nonunion operator that is also buying the Waldbaum's in Merrick.

In response, Best Yet CEO Rebecca Philbert said Thursday in a statement that the company has been named a great place to work by employees because of "productive, positive relationships with their team leaders and an inclusive environment that contributes to job satisfaction."