It was a short-lived action, but the weekend was a long enough period of time for members of the Teamsters Local #264 and Tops Friendly Markets to come to an agreement on a new contract for workers at the grocery chain’s distribution center in Lancaster.

Truck drivers and other members of the Teamsters Union began picketing the center on Friday morning when negotiations for a new contract fell short. An early tentative agreement, brought forward by Tops late Friday, was insufficient; as was a second proposal introduced Sunday.

Members of the union initially said only that they wanted to earn a wage that fairly compensated them for their work, especially as the cost of everything -- including the groceries they deliver -- continues to rise. In a statement released Monday afternoon following a vote by union members, Tops said a new four-year contract has been agreed to for the whole union, representing more than 550 employees at the warehouse in Lancaster.

“The ratified agreement provides industry-leading terms that exceed those agreed to in the past, while also ensuring our customers will continue to enjoy the service, selection and value that they’ve come to expect from Tops Markets. We want to extend our gratitude to Teamsters Local Union #264 and everyone involved in the negotiations for their diligent work on behalf of our associates.”

The union approved the contract Monday morning and all employees were given the go-ahead to return to work the same day. The strike lasted just three days.

Not all Tops employees who are part of a union are members of the Teamsters organization; many other employees are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers, including cashiers, bakers, deli workers and others who are employed in the stores across Western New York.

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Gallery Credit: Brett Alan

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