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Victory

Minnesota Grocery Workers Stand Together at Local 663 for Better Contracts

July 12, 2021

Over 6,000 members of UFCW Local 663 who work at grocery stores throughout the western Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area recently ratified new contracts that improve wages, benefits and workplace protections.

The new two-year contracts cover members of UFCW Local 663 who work at Jerry’s Foods and Jerry’s Cub Foods; Kowalski’s Markets; Lunds & Byerlys; Haug’s Cub Foods; Oxendale’s; Knowlan’s Festival Foods; Almsted’s Fresh Market; Radermacher’s Cub Foods; Driskill’s; Mound Jubilee Foods; King’s County Market in Andover; Everett’s; Ingebretsen’s; and Cooper’s.

This year’s negotiations largely took place in person, masked and at a social distance in large conference rooms due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of the new contracts include:

  • All worker pay will be strengthened, with increases every six months over the course of the contracts. Wage improvements in the new contracts are now synced with the Supervalu/UNFI Cub Foods local industry standard union contract. All contracts expire in March of 2023. UFCW Local 663 members at Supervalu/UNFI Cub Foods will continue to see their union negotiated wage increases each year of their five-year contract.
  • Hazard pay—Kowalski’s continued the $2.00 an hour increase through May 29, 2021. Other employers have provided or will provide one-time hazard pay bonuses.
  • No increases in health care costs over the entire length of the contracts.
  • All part-time, non-benefited employees at grocery stores will have the opportunity to sign up and receive ancillary benefits for $1.00 a week. Ancillary benefits include: Doctor on Demand/telehealth, dental, vision, life insurance, an accidental death and dismemberment benefit, as well as access to an employee assistant program.
  • Part-time employees will make more money when they are put on temporary full-time status.
  • Part-time employees with more than one year of service will begin earning pro-rated vacation benefits.

“We all have a responsibility to lift each other up,” said Jesslynn Phillips, who works at Lunds & Byerlys. “We came to agreements that improve part-time positions with better wages and benefits. As a single mom, that makes it easier to provide for my family.”

“I am proud of what our union members achieved for their coworkers at the bargaining table,” said UFCW Local 663 President Matthew Utecht, who served as the lead union negotiator during this process. “When faced with adversity, our union shows true grit and determination. The union contracts that workers voted on and accepted elevate not only our union members’ wages, benefits and workplace protections, they raise the entire grocery industry in the Twin Cities.”

“Day after day, brave grocery store workers throughout Minnesota continue to work through these incredibly challenging times,” Utecht added. “Our union has a place for anyone that wants to build a better life by reaching together for higher wages, benefits and more workplace protections.”