Claiming a lack of protections since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as they "kept Minnesotans fed," more than 3,000 Cub grocery store workers declared their intent to hold a vote to strike on Tuesday, April 4.
As reported by Fox 9, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) workers who are United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663 members made the announcement via a Zoom press conference on April 3, claiming that employee members have been working without a union contract since March 4.
According to UFCW 663 President Rena Wong, members are seeking a raise of $4 per hour throughout the next two years for full-time employees, and raises every six months for part-time employees.
Cub Foods workers have said they’ve been paid on a 2018 wage scale.
The contract negotiation covers 33 Cub stores, primarily in Minneapolis and the western Twin Cities suburbs. There are a total of 79 Cub stores across Minnesota.
According to a Cub media statement: "Cub cares greatly about its team members and has negotiated diligently and in good faith with UFCW local union #663 to finalize a new collective bargaining agreement. As part of its current offer, Cub has proposed historic wage increases and agreed to ongoing union health and pension plans on terms specifically requested by the union.
We’re deeply disappointed that the union elected to spend today taking a strike authorization vote instead of using that time to meet with us to reach agreement on terms for a new contract. It is our strong hope that the union will choose to continue negotiations rather than pursue a strike. In the event there is a strike, we are prepared to implement contingency plans to ensure the continued availability of the products and services our guests have come to count on from Cub."
Vote totals are expected to be revealed around 8 p.m. Tuesday via Facebook.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.