The Cub grocery store in Brooklyn Center, pictured on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Credit: Alfonzo Galvan | Sahan Journal

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Cub grocery store workers who were planning to strike Friday canceled their walkout after reaching a new union contract overnight that includes better wages and workplace protections.

The new contract, which members must still vote to on at a later date, would provide raises of $2.50 to $3.50 an hour by Spring 2024. It would also establish a landmark safety committee, according to a news release the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663 union posted on its Twitter account at 2:17 a.m. Friday.

“What we have done, is we have re-written the history, and the future, for 3,000 souls and countless ahead of us,” Pam Wilson, a head Customer Service Manager at the Eagan EastCub store, said in the news release. “We are a more powerful union now, and we are only going to continue to build our power together.”

Union members had voted earlier this week to strike Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, before the new contract was reached. The union’s contract had expired March 4 at 33 corporate-owned Cub locations across the Twin Cities metro area, affecting 3,000 workers. Other Cub locations are owned by franchisees.

Cub, formerly known as Cub Foods, is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) with the majority of its stores in Minnesota and at least one in Illinois, according to the company’s website.

Company representatives did not return messages seeking comment Friday.

The union was able to secure the contract for part-time workers who make up the majority of the bargaining unit. In addition, a significant portion of the bargaining unit—300 people who are currently classified as retail specialists but will now be converted to classified assistants—were able to win full-time positions, according to the union’s news release. 

The union’s bargaining committee is organizing a vote on April 11 for members to decide whether to approve the contract reached Friday.

Last week, the union filed Unfair Labor Practices charges against United Natural Foods, Inc. Cub Foods, alleging that the company interfered with employees’ organizing efforts, interrogated employees about union activity, and illegally surveilled union activity, according to a different news release from the union.

“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 in the Friday news release. “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.” 

A flier posted on the union’s Facebook page earlier this week listed the following 33 Cub locations as corporate-owned stores with union contracts that had expired before the recent contract agreement:

  • Apple Valley
  • Blaine North
  • Blaine South-
  • Blaine West
  • Bloomington Lyndale
  • Brooklyn Park North
  • Brooklyn Park South
  • Burnsville Heart of the City
  • Burnsville South
  • Champlin
  • Chanhassen
  • Coon Rapids South
  • Crystal
  • Eagan East
  • Eagan North
  • Eagan West
  • Fridley
  • Lakeville North
  • Lakeville South
  • Lakeville West
  • Maple Grove
  • Minnehaha
  • Monticello
  • New Brighton
  • Northside
  • Plymouth (Vicksburg Ln. N.)
  • Plymouth Rockford Road
  • Rosemount
  • Savage
  • Shorewood
  • St. Anthony
  • St. Louis Park
  • Uptown

Alfonzo Galvan is a reporter for Sahan Journal, covering work, labor, small business, and entrepreneurship. Before joining Sahan Journal, he covered breaking news and immigrant communities in South Dakota,...