Union and employer committees met late into the evening on Friday April 15, 2016. The Union committee held firmly to their positions on making sure that their health care plan was adequately funded, to ensure that all members had fair and equitable wage progressions, and to improve the contract for all - not a select few. The employers’ proposal did not measure up.
Articles by Jennifer Christensen
On the same day Scott Walker signed the anti-Union, anti-worker “right-to-work” law in March of 2015, caregivers at United Pioneer Home, a long term care facility in the small town of Luck, WI voted to unionize.
On Monday April 4, 2016, those same workers, over a year after their organizing victory, voted unanimously to accept and ratify their first Union contract.
Tuesday April 5, 2016 workers at the The Wedge Co-op on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis voted to ratify their first Union contract with 76% of the votes being cast to approve the Agreement.
This makes The Wedge the first co-op in the state to have a Union contract.
Back in November, workers at the co-op overwhelmingly voted in favor of unionizing. The issues ranged widely from just and fair wages to maintaining the co-op values in an environment that many workers believed was becoming more corporate.
Union and Employer Bargaining committees worked late on Thursday March 31, 2016, hoping to get to an agreement that all could support. The Union committee continued to push on the importance of ensuring a well-funded health care plan - offing to increase the member's share if the Employer would contribute sufficient monies to address the increased cost of coverage. Members' surveys put heath care and wages as the number 1 and 2 issues. The Union continued to press the employer for substantive wage increases.
Union Committee members arrived at the South St. Paul Union Hall prepared Tuesday and Wednesday this week to bargain over the Employers' economic (wages and benefit) proposal. Tuesday's proposal by the Employer was quickly dismissed by the committee as failing to meet the basic requirement of fully funding the Union's health care plan. The very small wage increase proposed by the Employer group left little to be desired as it was only for employees at the top or over scale and did nothing to increase the actual wages going forward.
Worksites represented by Jennifer Christensen
- Direct(651) 294-8977
- Office(651) 451-6240
- Cell(651) 335-9173
I began my membership in the Union as a part timer in the deli at the Cottage Grove Cub store, was moved to full time meat as helper in the seafood department at the Eagan store, where I was selected to be on the 1995 negotiating committee (for Local 653). In the fall of 1995 when the Midway Cub store opened, I was promoted to apprentice and became a journeyman meat cutter in 1997. I worked at the Maplewood West location and then was transferred back to where I began – Cottage Grove.
As a member, I served on the Executive Board for the Local. In 1998 I was hired on staff where I have worked as an Organizer, Communications Director (Web and Newsletter), and Union Representative. I served as Secretary Treasurer from 2003 - June 2016.
On June 29, 2016 the Executive Board of our Union elected me to serve out the remainder of retired President Sequist's term, I thank them for their affirmation of my ability to lead our great Local. I honor and am humbled by the women who blazed the trails before me and beside me – and for the men who open doors and showed that there are no glass ceilings in this Union.
In the word of George Meany – the first president of the AFL- CIO “Labor never quits. We never give up the fight no matter how tough the odds, no matter how long it takes.”
Brothers and Sisters, we are stronger together and together we will win. Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your President.