ASTORIA – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris called on Jenel Real Estate to protect jobs and access to a neighborhood supermarket for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. With numbers issued on August 13 by the U.S. Department of Labor showing nearly 1 million new unemployment filings in July, Senator Gianaris is fighting back against the real estate conglomerate’s plans to remove the Key Food on 31st Street in Astoria in favor of a big box retailer, forcing layoffs of union workers at the store.
“Despite our community’s legitimate concerns, Jenel Real Estate has decided it is going to forge ahead with its plans to displace a union-friendly supermarket in the midst of a pandemic,” said Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris. “By dismissing the needs of our neighborhood, it has demonstrated a disregard for the people it supposedly wants to serve. It rejects the value of organized labor, of providing food access throughout the pandemic, and most importantly, of listening to the very people it wants as customers. Before a shovel even hits the ground, Jenel Real Estate has shown it has much to learn about being a responsible neighborhood business.”
Senator Gianaris has been active in the fight to protect the Astoria Key Food, pushing back against the real estate developer’s plans to close the neighborhood institution, which would result in layoffs of its union employees.