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Minnesota Union Grocery Workers Boost Pay, Safety Protections in New Contracts As COVID Risks Continue for Essential Workers on Frontlines of Pandemic

July 8, 2021

Minnesota Union for Over 13,200 Frontline Food and Retail Workers Announce Major Worker Victories in Contracts for Grocery Workers Statewide 

BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 663, the union for over 13,200 frontline food and retail workers in Minnesota and Iowa, announced new agreements with top grocery chains across the state to strengthen pay, expand benefits, and improve protections for 6,000 Minnesota grocery workers throughout the western Twin Cities metro area as part of new two-year union contracts.

UFCW Local 663 President Matthew Utecht served as lead union negotiator: “I am proud of what our union members achieved for their coworkers at the bargaining table. 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. 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.” 

UFCW Local 663 negotiations began in January 2021 and ran through Spring 2021, with union members voting on their respective contracts as they were completed and recommended by their union bargaining committee members who negotiated with their employers. 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.

Minneapolis Grocery Worker Courtney Huber at Cub Foods: “As essential workers, we’ve been through a lot, and continue to serve on the front lines. Our new contracts recognize this. Our wage increases alone demonstrate the power we have when we come together as a union to fight for what we deserve.”

Richfield Grocery Worker Jesslynn Phillips at Lunds & Byerlys: “We all have a responsibility to lift each other up. 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.” 

Key Points in New UFCW 663 Minnesota Grocery Worker Contracts:

  • All workers gain more wages and will see pay increases every six months over the course of the contract. 
  • Healthcare affordability protected with no increases in health care costs over the entire length of the contracts.
  • Wage improvements in the new contracts were negotiated and now sync with the Supervalu/UNFI Cub Foods local industry standard union contract. 
  • All contracts expire in March of 2023. 
  • Hazard payKowalski’s agreed to continue the $2.00 an hour increase through May 1, 2021. Hazard pay at all other Minnesota grocers has already been paid or will be paid in one time bonuses
  • All part-time non-benefited positions at grocery stores will have the opportunity to sign up and receive ancillary benefits for one dollar a week. 
  • Ancillary benefits include: Doctor on Demand/Telehealth, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance, Access to an Employee Assistance Program, and other key support.
  • 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. 

For highlights of each contract, click here

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UFCW Local 663 represents more than 13,200 hard-working retail, meat packing and processing, food preparation and manufacturing, healthcare, and other workers in Minnesota and Iowa and is the largest UFCW Local in the Midwest. We strive to improve the lives of our members and of all working families by fighting for economic, political, and social justice in our workplaces and communities. UFCW Local 663 is part of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.