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"That won't work for us and it won't work for our members," said President Don Seaquist to area employers Lunds/Byerlys, Jerry's Cub, Cub Corporate, Festival, and Kowalski's. After several sub-committee sessions to explore solutions to providing health care coverage for St. Paul area grocery workers, the Employer group showed its typical lack of creativity and continued with its proposal to take healthcare away from the majority of part-time workers pushing them to the exchanges with no additional compensation.

On June 25th, all major retail supermarket employers, along with the union bargaining committee, will meet at 9AM at the Union Hall to continue negotiations for a new agreement. Since we last met, a sub-committee was formed in an effort to bring back to the full committees a recommendation on health care. This sub-committee met twice without reaching any recommendations related to contributions, design or future eligibility criteria. No decisions were made as to how we would meet our fund shortfall of over $6 million.

Wave of Walmart Families Nationwide Say They Refuse to be Illegally Silenced for Talking about Company’s Poverty Pay.  Walmart moms and other workers from Brooklyn Center and Apple Valley, walked off the job today in protest of the company’s illegal firings and disciplinary action against co-workers who have spoken out for better jobs for their families.

On May 15, Lunds opened the first full-service grocery store in downtown St. Paul and created eighty new union jobs.
The new Lunds is located on the first level of the Penfield Apartments at Robert and 10th Streets. This store has everything customers have come to expect from Lunds and Byerly’s and our members who work there – extraordinary food, exceptional service and passionate expertise.
Lunds Penfield is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight.  

The parties met for their initial negotiation session today.  While the Union was looking forward to a return to our previously collaborative and productive relationship, Essentia’s phrase of the day was “we’re not interested in that at this time.” At issue are wages, benefits, vacation scheduling, and even whether or not the Union negotiating team should be provided with benefit hours while they’re negotiating, which flies in the face of the past 20 years of negotiating with this employer. 

The ARGA negotiating committee met with the employers on May 12 and 13 in Duluth.  Once again we made some progress with both sides dropping items from their proposals.
On the meat department proposal, the committee has dropped items 2, 3, 4 and 15.  The Employer has dropped item 4 and the last sentence of item 6 – b 9.2.  Both parties spent  several hours on Article 9/Holidays and have revised 9.1-9.4.  We still are not done with all parts as we have made a counter to their proposal.

Several handouts were distributed to members who attended Local 1189's informational meetings on May 12, 2014 regarding the sale of Rainbow Foods.  They are available for download and printing here:

Negotiations resumed with Ogle's on May 5, 2014.  After admitting that their proposal submitted to us on April 4, 2014 was copied from another store's proposal, they returned with a 5-item proposal -- saying it was their extreme proposal in response to our extreme proposal -- except they did not receive our proposal until after we received their proposal!  They went over their proposal; however, we did not respond.  We will continue to keep you updated.

Informational meetings will be held for all Rainbow Foods members to discuss the impact of the sale that was announced by Roundy’s Inc., on May 7, 2014.  Meetings will be held on Monday, May 12, 2014 at the UFCW Local 1189 Union Hall: 266 Hardman Ave N, South St. Paul, MN at the following times: 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m.  Members are encouraged to attend and to car-pool with coworkers.

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