UFCW 1189 and Essentia Health (EH) have begun negotiations for our members to obtain a new contract. When EH purchased Mercy Hospital they agreed to recognize the Union but would not recognize our members' contract. In speaking with other employees and other Unions that are in the same process as we are, it looked as though EH wanted to gut the Mercy contracts. The only option before the committee was to bargain for a whole new contract. We knew the process was going to be slow moving and tough and it certainly is. We are currently working on non-economic issues (issues that deal with day to day work) and have not even begun to discuss wages.

Essentia Health feels that there is no need to put many of the most basic protections in the contract. They say they don't want to "slow down the process." And have instead accused the Union of trying to slow things down threatening to take 2 years to work through the proposals we have presented.

We will not allow Essentia Health to bully us into a contract that does not give members adequate protections in the workplace!

The proposals the Union has presented build protections for our members to keep everyone working and working on a fair playing field.  The Employer's proposals do none of this.

When looking at the Union’s proposals, Articles that seems lengthy or difficult to understand have a brief summary at the end of the proposed Article.

We ask that you continue to support our bargaining committee and we will update you as we progress through this process.

As of today we have asked EH for additional negotiation dates and are awaiting their response.

Updated Union Proposals.  PDF icon 2020 EH Moose Lake Summary of non economic proposals.pdf

Updated Employer Proposals.  PDF icon EH Employer Proposals.pdf



The Union and the Employer have met three times since July 30, 2020. Stevie Fure, Ola Schmelig, Joy Dolby, and David Michehl are your co-workers on the bargaining committee. As this is a first contract, negotiations will take a little longer than normal. This is because we are writing the entire contract to fit River Market. Bargaining virtually has been a learning process, but the committee has been doing a great job. At our last session, we spent the day discussing the grievance and arbitration procedures and just cause. We know that being treated equally and fairly is a core value of the co-op community, and strong grievance language will ensure a more just and fair workplace. We have proposed and are still discussing Union Security, Classification of Employees, Breaks and Meal Periods, Union Volunteers, Leaves of Absence, and Non-Discrimination.

We have tentatively agreed on the Employee List, Recognition, Pay Periods, Work Weeks, Overtime Pay, and below are a few noteworthy items:

  • Probationary Period: All new employees will serve a probationary period of 60 days. The Employer may extend this probationary period for an additional 30 days.
  • Discounts: All employees will receive 20% off purchases. Full and part-time employees with 20 years of service will receive a lifetime discount of 20%. This discount may be used in conjunction with coupons, Throwback Thursdays, Wellness Wednesdays, and Fill it Fresh Fridays.
  • Work Schedules: Work Schedules will be posted no less than 14 days in advance of the first day of the pay period. Any changes to the posted schedule will be made by mutual agreement. Having the ability to plan your life around work is important and you deserve to know what your schedule is in advance.

We have two bargaining sessions scheduled for October:  October 8 and  October 28. We look forward to reaching more tentative agreements. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to one of your co-workers on the committee or contact Diana Tastad-Damer.

UFCW 1189 members at Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake, MN voted unanimously to accept the tentative agreement reached between the Union and the Hospital.  We were able to secure a three-year contract with wage increases in each year of the contract, increases in longevity pay, shift differentials, call pay and other enhancements.  Thank you to the negotiating committee for their hard work and the membership for their support during the negotiations.  As our motto states, Stronger Together.

Your bargaining committee started negotiations on August 23, 2019 and are scheduled to meet again on September 13.  We were able to make progress and will be starting to negotiate wages and benefits.  Thank you to everyone who filled out a survey or spoke with a bargaining committee member.  Those surveys and conversations are what drive the proposals.  Your bargaining committee is made up of your fellow coworkers:  Christy C, Angel F, Kim H and Jay T and UFCW Staff Representatives Bruce Bergh, James Westin and Stacy Spexet.  Without a Union you would not have a voice in the workplace; you would not be able to have a steward sit in on an investigation.  No Union means you cannot negotiate your workplace rules and management gets to make all of the rules and implement the work rules.  Without a Union your schedule could change at a moment’s notice and day to day.  Without a Union you can be fired at any time for any reason.