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Twin Cities grocery store workers reach tentative agreement

By staff

Members of UFCW bargaining committee reaches TA.

Minneapolis, MN – 2500 grocery store workers who work at Lunds & Byerlys grocery stores in and around the metro area of Minneapolis are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663. They had built and authorized a strike at 22 grocery stores, which was set to begin on the morning of Thursday, June 29. Instead, late Monday, June 26, management blinked at the bargaining table and a tentative agreement was reached which the members will vote on for their next contract.

Throughout bargaining, management had been demanding a major concession around healthcare benefits. The workers healthcare plan has long been a union-run plan. Management was proposing to switch from the union-run plan to a plan run by management. The workers understood that to give up control of their healthcare plan would open them up to the potential for changes and decreases in coverage over time or increases in costs, so keeping control over their plan was a key priority for the workers. Additionally, the workers were proposing significant raises to keep up with rising costs and reflect the key role that essential grocery store workers play.

“We won a lot of the raises and benefits that we’re fighting for,” said Sarah Dike, cheese specialist at the Maple Grove Lunds & Byerlys, “I look forward to talking more with my coworkers at the informational meetings we are holding so that we all understand what we will vote on later this week.”

The grocery store workers’ union contract expired on March 7, and since then they have been working without a contract. On Friday, June 23 they voted to authorize a strike which was scheduled to begin on June 29, and go on for three days in the leadup to the July 4 holiday weekend, which is a particularly busy time for grocery stores.

The UFCW 663 bargaining committee plans to hold informational meetings for members as a chance to review the tentative agreement. The union then plans for a ratification vote to occur on Saturday, July 1.

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