DEPTFORD, NJ (CBS) – Ten supermarkets in the region are closing, as the bankrupt A&P company tries to reduce costs.

Three Pathmark stores and seven Superfresh supermarkets will close within two months, putting nearly 600 union members out of work.

“They basically told us that these were underperforming stores, and that it was part of their turnaround plan to cut costs and reduce some of the lag that they were having because they’re in bankruptcy, Chapter 11,” said Sam Ferraino, who heads Local 1360 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Closing are the Pathmark stores in Deptford, NJ; Saucon Valley, Pa.; and Glasgow, Del.; and the Superfresh stores in Mt. Holly, Hammonton, Cape May Court House, Hamilton Township, and Hightstown, NJ; and Yardley and Lionville, Pa.

“In most of the cases these stores that they did close are in direct competition with Super Walmarts that recently came to the area,” Ferraino says, pointing to the Deptford Pathmark as an example.

“That town is going to suffer because those jobs and those people received higher pay.  They had benefits and they had a pension,” he told KYW Newsradio.

Ferraino says he’s concerned that some high-wage union veterans being laid off will use their bumping rights at other stores — possibly pushing the company into seeking wage concessions at the remaining stores.

The CEO of parent company The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company said in a statement the decision to close stores was difficult but absolutely necessary.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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