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Barclays Center concessions workers picket ahead of Draft after failed contract talks

Fans and media entering Barclays Center at Dean Street Thursday evening couldn’t do so without taking note of an protest taking place across the street.

Barclays Center concession workers chanted “Levy! Hey, hey, don’t delay! Give us a contract with Equal Pay!” amid a contract dispute with Levy Restaurants, the restaurant concessionaire that provides food and beverage to entertainment and sports venues. (Of note, the Nets’ and Barclays Center’ parent company, BSE Global, is not involved in negotiations.)

Barclays Center concession workers are asking for a $20 per-hour minimum wage and lowered hourly requirements for healthcare benefits.

Dennis Diaz, the organizing director of Unite Here! Local 100 told NetsDaily that “This is about workers being able to raise the standards.”

Workers’ contract with Levy expired last August and talks have been ongoing in the past months, but talks broke down last week. A potential strike vote would come in mid-July.

One picketer, Irma, didn’t want her last name used. A cook at a Barclays concession booth, she said she works year-round at Barclays, clocking in for concerts and Nets and Liberty basketball games. She has been working at Barclays since the arena opened nearly eleven years ago.

She implored, “They have to understand that we are human and we also get sick, and we need a raise because the cost of living in New York has gone sky high. The medical insurance is very important to make sure that our coworkers can come in and work.”

As for what the union is looking for after Thursday’s protest?

“Levy comes to the table, listens to the workers, gives them a decent wage increase, and gives them affordable healthcare,” said Diaz.

Irma states plainly: “I give them 110% work! That’s all I’ve got to say. Levy: take care of us.”