Apr 6, 2023 - News

Grocery workers at 33 Twin Cities Cub Food stores plan to strike

A red and white Cub foods sign

Photo: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Grocery workers at more than 30 local Cub Foods stores plan to go on strike Friday and Saturday.

Driving the news: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663, which represents more than 3,000 employees at 33 Twin Cities Cubs owned by United Natural Food Inc., says members are walking off the job to demand better pay, benefits and working conditions.

  • They've been without a contract since early last month.

What to expect: The strike covers a range of positions, including cashiers, shelf stockers and pharmacy technicians. Workers will picket the affected stores.

  • Cub's parent company told Axios it has contingency plans to keep stores open and products available if employees do follow through with the strike.

Zoom in: Wages are a big sticking point in the stalled contract negotiations.

  • The union wants raises of $4 an hour for full-time workers and up to $3 an hour for part-time employees over the next two years, per the Minnesota Reformer.
  • UNFI's proposal would provide full-time employees with raises of up to $1.50/hour in year one of the contract and $1.25 year two. Starting pay for part-time workers would increase 40%, from $10 to $14 an hour, but those employees could also go longer between raises.

What they're saying: Union members cited their essential work during the pandemic as a driving factor in their ask for more money and other improvements.

  • "We were here for our communities during COVID," employee Sue Sami said at a news conference Wednesday morning outside a Maple Grove Cub, describing staying in her garage to protect a housemate with cancer. "I think we are worth more than the carton of eggs."

The other side: The company told Axios that it "proposed historic wage increases" and agreed to the union's requests related to health and pension plans.

  • It said the increases it offered would bring the salary of a full-time cleaner with five years experience to $50,294. Department heads and meat cutters would make more than $63,000.

Of note: The strike will not impact the 40-plus Cub stores in the Twin Cities that are owned by franchisees.


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