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Stand With Fresh Seasons Workers in Their Fight to Be Paid

L653 FSWhen Fresh Seasons Markets in Victoria and Glen Lake, Minnesota, closed a year ago, owner Tom Wartman failed to pay his employees the vacation and personal holiday pay they had earned. Now, the stores in Victoria and Glen Lake have reopened under slightly changed names and the former Fresh Seasons workers are still not getting paid what they’re owed. Tom Wartman is still profiting from the buildings he owns.

Workers from UFCW Local 653 have taken their fight online and are telling the public their stories in an effort to convince Tom Wartman and Fresh Seasons to do the right thing. They’ve launched a new website and a new newspaper ad to encourage the community to support them and sign a petition saying that millionaire business owners should pay their debts to their loyal workers.

“I think Tom should just pay back the money that Fresh Seasons owes to the people, to his vendors, and to our union,” said former Fresh Seasons worker Tamara Schuler. “Until he does that, he shouldn’t work to open more stores. It’s not only unfair, but who would want to work for him?”

You can show your support for Fresh Seasons workers by signing the petition online at www.TomWartman.info.

On the Ground with a GOLD Intern

ATL JWJMyron Coguox works at Food 4 Less and is a member of UFCW Local 324.

I spent my GOLD internship working alongside Jobs with Justice in Atlanta. The overall goal of the summer was to help motivate people to organize and have a union voice on the job to help them improve their jobs and lives.

When I arrived, I knew very little about the South and it was sometimes difficult for me to reach people within the community. I come from California and found Georgia to be quite different from home. This experience has opened up my eyes to how difficult organizing can be inside a right to work state.

I spent a lot of my time canvassing a community called East Point and it was challenging. Beyond being perceived as the “new” person in town, what made my job particulary difficult was the fact that East Point is an exceptionally conservative community. The people I met weren’t always so receptive to labor unions. To overcome this, I would always share my personal experiences to help establish trust. If they trusted me, they would be more likely to talk with me about how together we can stand up for more jobs and better wages.

Working in Georgia made me realize how much working people suffer. Areas with low incomes and few jobs are in desperate need of change. This summer taught me that the best way to bring that is for people to band together both inside and outside of their workplaces.

I’m looking forward to going home and sharing everything I’ve learned with my local union. Most importantly, I won’t take the strength of our solidarity for granted.

Bloomingfoods Workers Ratify Their First Union Contract

Bfoods L700

Workers at Bloomingfoods Co-op in Bloomington, Ind., have voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first union contract as members of UFCW Local 700.

Bloomingfoods workers successfully negotiated a contract that ensures fair wage increases, a process for resolving workplace issues, and a voice for all workers in the cooperative.

Following an accelerated, fair election process marked by company neutrality and community involvement, Bloomingfoods workers voted last November to form a union. About 250 workers across five Bloomingfoods Co-op grocery stores and a commissary became UFCW Local 700 members.

“Bloomingfoods is part of what I love most about Bloomington,” said Casie Jetter, a Bloomingfoods commissary worker. “I want the co-op to remain strong and successful so that my daughter can some day shop at the same co-op that has remained a staple in our community. Bringing a union to Bloomingfoods will put our co-op one more step ahead of competition in an increasingly competitive market.”