The cub strike is set to begin at 5:30 a.m. Friday ahead of an expected busy shopping weekend after union leaders reached a landmark labor agreement shortly after midnight for 3,000 workers serving 33 stores in the Twin Cities.
United Foods and Commercial Workers Local 663 announced that it has won a temporary two-year contract, which members now need to ratify at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
The initial contract calls for increases from $2.50 to $3.50 an hour, which will be phased in by spring 2024. Union members have sought increases of up to $4 an hour. At one point before the vote to strike, Cub officials offered a 75-cent increase to $2.75 an hour.
In another win, some 300 part-time “retail professionals” will win full-time status, while the entire union won the right to create a “historic” safety committee.
“The union was able to secure huge gains for the part-time workers who make up the majority of the negotiating unit,” CTU officials said in an early morning statement.
In a statement, Cub officials said they were “thrilled” to reach an agreement “that will provide Minneapolis and West metro Cub team members with a historic wage increase and continued health, comprehensive welfare, and retirement benefits as required by the union.”
Cub officials added that they care “greatly” about the team members and are “delighted that our stores will be open and ready to serve our customers and communities all weekend.”
Not only does the agreement prevent strikes during a traditionally busy weekend, it ends weeks of contentious argument between the two parties.
Union members, who have worked since their labor agreement expired on March 4, voted on Tuesday to authorize the strike, which is planned to run Friday and Saturday when customers buy Easter ham and other fixings.
Union members insist they have sacrificed a lot to keep stores ringing during a hectic pandemic that has exposed employees to difficult working conditions and illness. It also prevented them from seeing their vulnerable loved ones. Some members have noticed that any salary they received in instalments is long gone.
Last week, the union also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair working conditions in which youth targeted workers with interrogations, threats, and other “coercive measures.”
Cub officials denied the allegations and questioned whether the registration was a tactic designed to prevent management from calling up permanent replacement workers.
Cub – which is being acquired by United Natural Foods Inc. based in Rhode Island and specializing in wholesale, in 2018 as part of the acquisition of SUPERALU – 33 stores in the Twin Cities area, but there are many more franchise-operated stores.
Concession stores are not part of the union agreement and were not part of the strike call.
The 33 stores were mostly suburban, including locations in St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Blaine, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Egan, and Fridley’s. Cub stores in Uptown and near Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis were also on the list.
Neither Shibl nor the union provided any additional comment on the deal.
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