Member mobilization, Cub strike threat win contract gains for UFCW members
New contract covers 3,000
UFCW Local 663 members
at 33 UNFI-owned stores
|In a massive turn-out, UFCW Local 663 members marched through the streets of the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis March 25, calling for fair contracts at local Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski‘s, and Cub stores.
Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, April 29, 2023
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MAPLE GROVE — A last-minute settlement averted a two-day Unfair Labor Practice strike over the Easter holiday weekend at 33 UNFI-owned Cub grocery stores by 3,000 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663. Union members voted overwhelmingly April 11 to ratify a new contract with UNFI-owned Cub stores, winning important gains for the grocery workers who kept working at great personal risk through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wins in the new UNFI-Cub contract came after weeks of Local 663 members taking action, from informational picketing outside stores, to a 33-store walk-out, to marching on the boss in stores, to marching in the streets of Uptown in Minneapolis March 25 — a march that went from a Lunds & Byerly’s store to a Kowalski’s store and then on to a Cub store.
“This year’s contract campaign was like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Dave Mueller, a produce worker at Cub’s Uptown store. “I’ve been on the bargaining committee six times, and we’re so much more powerful than we ever were before. This was the most encompassing rank and file experience I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.”
‘This year’s contract campaign was like nothing I’ve ever seen.’
—UFCW member Dave Mueller
By the spring of 2024, the two-year UNFI-Cub contract will provide average raises of $2.50 to $3.50 per hour.
“Raises are even bigger for more than 300 retail specialists like me, who will be converted to classified assistants,” said Sami Moll, a deli worker at the Chanhassen Cub Foods and bargaining committee member. “Some of us will be making $5 to $8 more an hour by this time next year, which is phenomenal.”
“Promises made, promises kept!” said Souad Sami, a deli worker at the Rockford Road Cub store in Plymouth. “We were able to make sure our pension and our retirement are secure.”
The UNFI-Cub contract includes no increases for worker healthcare costs and also establishes what the union called a “landmark” safety committee.
As the Labor Review went to press April 20, UFCW Local 663 negotiations continued with Lunds & Byerlys and also with Kowalski’s.
More on this story:
> Grocery workers set to strike April 7-8 at 33 local Cub stores
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 4-6-23)