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Tentative agreement made to avoid strike at 33 Cub Foods locations Friday

Tentative agreement made to avoid strike at 33 Cub Foods locations Friday
Tentative agreement made to avoid strike at 33 Cub Foods locations Friday 03:52

MINNEAPOLIS -- A tentative agreement has been reached between Cub Foods' parent company UNFI and its 3,000 union workers, avoiding a strike on one of the busiest weekends for shoppers.

Union members were set to begin picketing at 33 Twin Cities Cub locations at 5:30 a.m. The strike would have lasted through Easter weekend with workers returning Monday, but both sides reached the tentative agreement at midnight. 

"[I'm] feeling really good," said Ashley Hemze, a Cub Food employee and union member. "It's good that we didn't have to go to a strike. No one wanted to go to that point, especially management and especially us, our workers. We have many people that couldn't strike because of financial reasons and stuff like that. So, it's a good feeling today that we finally have reached an agreement. It's been three months. It's been a long time."

Originally, the union was asking for a raise of $4 over the course of two years, but UNFI countered with what it called a historic raise at $2.75 over two years. Instead, both sides have now tentatively agreed to raises between $2.50 to $3.50 an hour by next spring, depending on the position.

It also establishes what the union calls a landmark safety committee and benefits part-time workers and retail specialists.

"We've been through a lot for the past few years, especially with COVID and the riots," said Hemze. "We just want to make sure that our workers are safe. There's been a lot of crime at Cubs committed recently and we just want to make sure that we feel safe in the building and safe working."

Union members had been working for a month without a contract when they voted by an overwhelming majority to strike earlier this week. The deal still needs to be voted on but the union is calling it a "historic win" for its members.

"This is a union of people who sacrificed beyond imagination, to keep Minnesotans fed during the pandemic. It is no surprise, then, that these grocery workers were able to organize the most powerful contract campaign the Twin Cities grocery industry has seen in decades," UFCW Local 663 President Rena Wong said. "The bargaining committee believes that this tentative agreement respects, protects, and pays our members fairly. We look forward to sharing the agreement with the thousands of UFCW Local 663 members, and continuing to welcome new members who are working to organize their own workplaces."

Statement from Cub Foods:

Cub is pleased to announce it has reached a tentative agreement for a two-year contract with UFCW Local 663 that will provide Minneapolis and west Metro area Cub team members with historic wage increases and continued comprehensive health and welfare and retirement benefits as requested by the union. The tentative agreement will need to be ratified by Local 663 members during a vote to be held next week, but as part of the agreement Cub team members will return to a normal work schedule tomorrow morning. We care greatly for our Cub team members and are pleased that our stores will be open and ready to serve our customers and communities throughout the holiday weekend.

Union members will vote on the tentative agreement Tuesday. 

This is a developing story, so check back. 

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