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Seward Co-op workers reach tentative agreement after authorizing strike

By staff

Seward Co-op workers make gains in new contract. | Fight Back! News/staff

Minneapolis, MN – On Wednesday September 27, workers at Seward Co-op in South Minneapolis reached a tentative agreement on their next union contract. The agreement comes only one day after a strong majority of the co-op workers voted to authorize a strike by a near unanimous majority of ballots cast. The co-op workers are represented by Local 663 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW 663) union.

In the tentative agreement, the workers won a minimum of $5 raises for every worker with some workers we spoke to saying they will receive $6.50 over the three years. They also won language to address concerns held by multi departmental clerks, who previously could be sent all over the store, leading to issues at work. Under new language those workers will be able to go to the job knowing there are no more than two areas in which any given person can be made to work. Additionally new language was won to protect staffing levels when self-check-out machines are used. For workers who are hired in at the bottom of the scale with no experience, this agreement will move them from as little as $15.50 per hour, up to a new minimum of $20.50 per hour.

Olivia Crull is a facilities assistant at Seward Co-op, said, “We’re coming out of this with a TA that will raise standards across the grocery store industry. Grocery store workers deserve a livable wage and respect, and through collective action and bringing everyone into the fight, we were able to win what we were owed by co-op management and more. We’ve built our union tremendously in this fight, and we will continue to grow it and exercise our solidarity in the workplace, so that nobody is left behind.”

The contract still needs to be voted on in order to go into effect. That vote is scheduled for a quick turnaround time, with workers voting on Monday, October 2.

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