Shoppers come out from Pathmark in Dix Hills, NY in...

Shoppers come out from Pathmark in Dix Hills, NY in this file photo. (Aug. 22, 2005) Credit: NEWSDAY/June Lee

A Long Island union representing supermarket workers plans to hand out fliers Wednesday protesting A&P's decision to open some of its Pathmark, Waldbaum's and A&P stores on Christmas.

The Westbury-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 sent a letter to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., which owns the three chains, arguing that its members recently agreed to "painful" contract cuts to help the company emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"It's been a difficult year," said Pat Purcell, Local 1500 spokesman. "There have been store closings. There's been negotiations and [members] have been on a roller coaster."

The union said it was informed by the company that some 30 of the company's 336 locations, stretching from Maryland to Connecticut, will open Dec. 25. An A&P spokesman confirmed that some stores would be open, but did not have information about how many and which locations would be selected.

"A&P is committed to being the store of the neighborhood and serving the needs of our diverse customer base," the company said in a statement. "Therefore, we have made the decision to open some of our store locations with limited hours on Christmas Day. The company plans to staff the stores with associates who wish to earn additional income by volunteering to work on December 25th."

Last month, many retailers pushed Black Friday store openings into Thanksgiving, sparking protest campaigns from some retail workers.

"We would prefer that stores be closed and that they honor the holiday," said John Durso, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338, which has members employed at Waldbaum's. "It's been a tough year and it's a good time to be together" with family.

Other large supermarket chains on Long Island will not be open on Christmas, Purcell noted. Stop & Shop said its stores will be closed on that day, as did King Kullen.

"King Kullen will be closed on Christmas so that our employees can spend this special day with their families and loved ones," said Thomas Cullen, vice president of King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc.

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