Whole Foods Co-op Workers Win Union Election!! (UPDATED 2.13.17)

Update 2.13.17: As of Friday February 10th, the results of the Union Election at Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth MN have officially been certified by the National Labor Relations Board.  7 Challenged assistant manager ballots have been determined to be management and their votes will not be counted nor will their position be a part of the negotiation process.  The final total was 43 yes to 42 no in favor of joining UFCW Local 1189.  The next steps of the process include a comprehensive bargaining survey, proposal meetings, electing bargaining committee representatives, setting bargaining dates and creating an initial proposal.  UFCW Local 1189 nowrepresents the regular hourlly full and part time workers at both the Hillside and Denfeld stores. 

On Thursday January 26, workers at Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth Minnesota voted 43-42 to form a Union and join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1189.  The official vote tally was being held up as seven ballots were challenged based on supervisory status.  The challenged votes have now been determined to be management and therefor will not count in the final results.  After the results are certified, the new UFCW members will begin the process of electing a bargaining committee from amongst their coworkers and creating an initial contract proposal for contract negotiations.  "The organizing committee worked really hard even though management was working every day to make people affraid.  I am so proud of them for sticking together dispite the fear tactics," said Diana Tastad, the lead organizer on the campaign. 

"I'm personally thrilled that we finally have the representation all 'at-will' employees deserve to have. I'm glad to know that all of the coworkers I care about, now have representation against the potential downside of 'at-will' employment. I'm overjoyed that now there will be a fair and clear dialogue for us as workers, that will allow us to have a real say in our Co-Op once again." said Rob Leanord, who works in the  deli at the Hillside location. 

Produce clerk Terese Elhard explained her feelings when it came to their organizing victory. "What I feel we have accomplished is securing a path for worker's voice to be heard; for restoring the democratic process to our employment; and protecting our employees rights as a cooperative business was needed."  

Jennifer Christensen, President of UFCW Local 1189 and the lead negotiator for the local's other co-op contracts has her sites set on getting the workers a strong union contract adding that "once the challenged ballots are resolved, the UFCW hopes to start the negotiation process by sending comprihensive surveys to all new members and by holding meetings to brainstorm and discuss ideas." 

This makes Whole Foods Co-op the second Minnesota co-op to organize a Union.  In November of 2015 Workers at the Wedge in Minneapolis voted to join UFCW Local 1189. 

Questions or comments can be directed to Organizing Director Abraham Wangnoo at awangnoo@ufcw1189.org.  We will keep you posted.