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Minnesota: Grocery store workers at 33 Cub Foods stores win big on eve of strike

By staff

UFCW members.

Minneapolis, MN – Around 3000 Workers at 33 Cub Foods grocery stores in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs who are represented by UFCW Local 663 were poised to begin a strike that had been set to start at 5:30 a.m. on April 7. Instead, after months of playing hardball, around 2 a.m. on the morning of the strike the boss caved and met many of the workers’ core demands.

The strike was set to take place starting at 5:30 a.m. on Good Friday and run through the next day. Additionally, the union workers have it in their contract that management cannot require them to work on Easter Sunday. So they had planned to strike Friday and Saturday, and to not sign up for volunteer shifts on Easter Sunday, thus shutting down the stores for all three days of the holiday weekend, a time when Cub Foods makes large portions of its yearly profit from the holiday rush.

The strike was authorized by a vote of over 94% to strike at the 33 stores. Many unions in Minnesota were mobilizing to push turnout and support the strike. In weeks leading up to the strike the union members held pickets which resulted in overwhelming numbers of grocery store workers participating as well as widespread community and labor solidarity turnout.

As a direct result of how organized and ready to fight the workers were, they won a contract deal that stops significant benefit cuts and retains the union’s control over healthcare benefits into the future. They also won $2.50 to $3.50 raises for all and the establishment of a safety committee.

Another key win for the workers was that 300 part-time jobs will be converted to full-time positions. As recently as a few decades ago most jobs in grocery stores were full time. Since then, the vast majority had become low wage part-time jobs, so this was a key issue for the union members, and a major win.

Pam Wilson, a head customer service manager, which is a union-represented non-management position at Cub Foods, said, “What we have done, is we have rewritten history, and the future, for 3000 souls and countless ahead of us.” She went on to say, “We are a more powerful union now, and we are only going to continue to build power together.”

The bargaining committee is currently organizing a ratification vote for April 11.

#MinneapolisMN #CubFoods