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Minnesota: UFCW 663 members authorize Unfair Labor Practice strike at Seward Coop

By Siobhan Moore

Seward workers fight for a decent contract.

Minneapolis, MN – On Tuesday, September 26, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663 members at Seward Community Co-op voted by an overwhelming majority to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice strike as they head towards their September 27 bargaining session with management. This vote comes as a result of management’s harassment and intimidation of workers over the past three weeks after the expiration of the previous contract on August 22, which took with it the right to arbitration following grievance procedures.

Bargaining between UFCW and Seward has been ongoing since early August and has been a difficult struggle on the shop floor and at the bargaining table. While tentative agreements have been reached on issues ranging from parental leave to autonomy over the use of unpaid time off, as well as progress on wage equity, the company’s wage proposals still fall short of what workers are demanding. An increase of $1.50 was most recent company offer, which may sound decent if it were not for the fact that the base starting wage for employees is only $15.50, far less than the cost of living in Minneapolis.

With a powerful strike threat in hand, workers at Seward are declaring that they are ready and willing to fight for their needs. How Co-op management will respond to this remains to be seen. What is already known is that workers from Minnesota Workers United and unions in the Twin Cities have already pledged their support for the UFCW members, whether they end up striking or not, and that the solidarity of Seward workers is still standing strong in the face of management’s intimidation tactics.

#MinneapolisMN #UFCW663 #Strike #UFCW