Free College for UFCW Members & Families

Dear UFCW Member:

Every day, we are working hard to provide you—and every single one of our members—with real and powerful benefits that can help bring you the better life you have earned and deserve.  One valuable example of this is the UFCW Free College Benefit.

The UFCW Free College Benefit makes it possible for you and/or your loved ones to earn an Associate Degree online through Eastern Gateway Community College with no out-of-pocket costs or need for loans.  This benefit is available exclusively to UFCW members, retired members, and family of members, including children, spouses, grandchildren, domestic partners, and dependents.  

Best of all, the UFCW Free College Benefit is designed to help you balance work and home life.  You can attend school part-time or full-time – whichever fits your schedule.  All you need to get started is a high school degree or GED, there are no entrance exams to worry about.

Here are some of the available programs you can apply to:

  • Business Management
  • Accounting
  • Paralegal
  • Early Childhood Education

Please click here to visit the UFCW Free College Benefit website to sign up or learn more.

Thank you again for letting the UFCW union family serve and support your goals.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help you, or if you have any ideas about what we can do better, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Matt Utecht, President, UFCW Local 653

Downloadable flyers & FAQs for your workplace!

Free College Flyer

 Frequently Asked Questions for Free College

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Minneapolis workers win $15 minimum wage

Sondra Williams Testifying for $15 ordinance at June 22 public hearing

71,000 low wage workers who work in Minneapolis will get raises starting in 2018. The Minneapolis City Council passed a municipal minimum wage ordinance on Friday, June 30 that will require businesses to phase in $15/hour over 5 to 7 years, depending on the size of the employer. A disproportionate number of these workers are people of color and single mothers.

The win is a culmination of years of grassroots organizing, and UFCW Local 653 is proud to lift up workers for a better life.

UFCW Local 653 joined the Raise Retail Campaign that ran in 2014 through 2016 along with $15Now, CTUL, NOC, CPD, and Working America, and the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, among others to gauge and raise awareness of the $15 an hour movement, fair scheduling and sick and safe time in Minneapolis. Organizations worked together to blitz big and small retail stores in the Twin Cities surveying workers for support of these ideas. Local 653 sent out S.P.U.R.s (Special Project Union Representatives) and staff to these stores to help survey workers.

The results painted a clear picture that there was a lot of support for $15. After a ballot initiative for $15 an hour in Minneapolis failed in a MN Supreme Court ruling last August, the $15 for Minneapolis coalition pushed for an ordinance.

Through months of working in coalition with labor and progressive organizations, UFCW Local 653 helped to turn out members and amplify communications and support for $15 an hour.

On June 22, UFCW Local 653 members testified in support of the $15 an hour ordinance during a Minneapolis City Council public hearing. Members Sondra Williams, Jeff Livingston, and Courtney Huber were there.

In a packed room in Minneapolis City Hall, Sondra Williams said, “I work part-time in the deli department, I have two part time jobs. I’m a single mom struggling to raise 3 beautiful children. Imagine not seeing your kids because you work two jobs. I’m doing the best I can. $15 would not only help me and my family out, but it would help others who are struggling as well.”

653 member Jeff Livingston giving testimony at June 22 Minneapolis public hearing. photo credit CTUL Twitter.

 

Jeff Livingston said, “After 15 or 16 years in the screen printing industry before this current job, I realized that low wages are part of a systemic problem. Where the rich get richer, and working people like me have to work harder and harder for scraps. Although the ordinance sees $15 fully realized in 2025, I see $15 an hour as a baseline of what minimum wage should be today.”

 

Courtney Huber testified, “I make $14.25 an hour, and have a couple of other part time jobs, because, well, you gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills. It’d be nice not to struggle as much.”

653 member Courtney Huber testifying for $15 ordinance at June 22 public hearing

As the momentum of the $15 an hour campaign built, it helped UFCW Local 653 to organize Eastside, Linden Hills and now Seward Community Food Coop in Minneapolis. Workers want a better life through higher wages, workplace rights and collective bargaining agreements. When workers see and experience these momentous wins that lift up union and non-union workers alike, it builds confidence in retail industry workers.

Looking forward, workers can use the win in Minneapolis to demand $15 at UFCW Local 653 coop bargaining and in larger retail contracts down the road.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Seward Community Co-op Workers Join UFCW Local 653

On June 22, workers at three Seward Co-op stores in south Minneapolis voted to join UFCW Local 653 by an overwhelming margin. Earlier in June, the workers at the three stores, including the Creamery Café, the Seward Franklin store on Franklin Ave., and the Seward Friendship store at 38th St. and Clinton Ave., held a rally for a voice in the workplace after submitting cards authorizing representation by UFCW Local 653 to the National Labor Relations Board. This victory comes on the heels of employees at Eastside Food Co-op and Linden Hills Co-op also voting to join UFCW Local 653.

“We are happy to be moving forward together, workers and management, because we’re committed to making the co-op a better place for both customers and the dedicated people who work at Seward,” said Amber Young, who works at the Seward Franklin store.

Seward workers following the NLRB vote count Thursday evening

“Workers have come together to say yes to UFCW 653, yes to fair wages, yes to negotiating better benefits, and yes to respect and dignity in the workplace,” said Max Storey, who works at the Seward Friendship store.

“I appreciate the diverse perspectives and experiences that everyone brings to the work we do in the co-op. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to protecting and supporting all of my co-workers through a collective bargaining agreement,” said Bailey Lutz who works at The Creamery.

Seward workers with their UFCW Local 653 family and community members at press event announcing election results

“We welcome everyone who works at Seward Co-op to the UFCW Local 653 union family. We’re looking forward to helping them negotiate a better life for themselves and their families. Co-op values are union values, so we feel this new partnership will only make Seward Co-op and our local community stronger,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Minneapolis Grocery Workers Retail Survey now open for UFCW 653 Members!

UFCW 653 Minneapolis Grocery workers, we need your thoughts and opinions!

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on March 3, 2018. The expiration of this Agreement provides us the opportunity to negotiate over the wages, benefits and working conditions members want to improve. Take the online survey.

Member input and participation is how we win the best contract possibleYour opinions and voice matter. Please share your concerns and ideas for what should be addressed in negotiations. After the survey process, a summary will be created and shared with members. There will also be several meetings at various times and locations to talk about our bargaining priorities after the survey process. Survey results will be used to develop proposals and bargaining strategies for the upcoming negotiations. Individual responses and surveys will not be shared with employers.

Please complete this survey no later than September 1, 2017.

Take the online survey.

You can complete the survey online or through a paper copy found through your steward or business representative in the store.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Shop Union this Memorial Day!

Wondering where to get your union grillin’ goods for this weekend? We’ve got the list of UFCW Local 653 union grocery shops for you so you can feel good about supporting workers who have a collective voice on the job!

UFCW Local 653 Shop Union Brochure

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OnPoint Blog welcomes Eastside Food Co-op workers

Click here for the full article. Remember to check out the On Point blog to stay up to date on all things UFCW!

View Full Article

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Eastside Food Co-op workers vote to unionize with UFCW Local 653

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 26, 2017

Contact: Rena Wong, 612-865-4345rwong@UFCW653.org

Eastside Food Co-op workers vote to unionize with UFCW Local 653

Workers at Eastside Food Co-op in Minneapolis won their election on Thursday, April 20th to form a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 653. More than 70% of workers voted in favor of unionization.

“Addressing economic justice issues like implementing a genuine living wage is a clear extension of our cooperative values,” said Brian David who works in Eastside’s IT department.” We are excited to begin the bargaining process because now, everyone will have an opportunity to be heard.”

Workers have begun circulating bargaining surveys to help the bargaining committee understand their co-workers’ priorities.

“I have been working at Eastside for seven years. Forming a union is going to help workers have a voice and support each other,” said cashier Molly Garner-Puff. “We want to make sure our co-op continues to be a sustainable store for the workers and the neighborhood.”

Many workers live close to Eastside Food Co-op in Northeast Minneapolis. Forming a union is how workers can actively ensure family sustaining jobs for the whole community.

When workers first started discussing forming a union, they met discreetly to create a safe space to refine their goals and identify who would be most interested in organizing. They wanted to create their own organizing plan without worrying about potential management interference.

“Organizers gave advice, and UFCW members from Linden Hills Co-op and other retail stores offered support, but we led the organizing – Eastside Co-op workers,” said Alex Bischoff from the Meat Department. “I hope other working people who want to organize reach out to us. We would love to support them. We are always stronger together!”

Eastside Food Co-op workers were inspired by other workers who recently organized a union at Linden Hills Co-op, The Wedge Community Co-op and Whole Foods Co-op in Minnesota and the People’s Food Co-op in Michigan.

###

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Eastside Food Co-op Workers Submit Cards for Union Election

Eastside Co-op group photo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 31, 2017

Eastside Food Co-op workers submit cards for union election More than 70% of Eastside Food Co-op employees signed and submitted cards to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday, March 30th, to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 653. Eastside Food Co-op workers hope to follow workers at the Linden Hills Co-op who unionized with UFCW Local 653 last month. They aim to raise standards both at their co-op and the larger retail grocery industry.

Click here for full press release

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Linden Hills Co-op workers vote to unionize with UFCW Local 653

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 24, 2017

Contact: Rena Wong, 612-865-4345

Linden Hills Co-op workers vote to unionize with UFCW Local 653

Workers at Linden Hills Co-op won their election yesterday to form a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 653. 85% of workers voted in favor of unionization.

“We are excited to begin the bargaining process because it is the next step in making our already amazing co-operative even more amazing. We love where we work. This is an extremely positive thing!” said Tracie Lemberg from Health and Body Care.

Workers have begun circulating bargaining surveys to help the bargaining committee understand their fellow workers’ priorities.

“I have been working at co-ops in the Twin Cities since I was 16. Forming a union is the best way to make sure all workers are treated fairly and have a say in creating a positive work environment. I’m proud to work at this co-op and look forward to making it an even better place,” said Emily Calhoon from the Produce Department.

Workers want to actively ensure good jobs and a sustainable co-op that best serves the needs of the community.

Evan Adams-Hanson, a Front End Floor Coordinator said, “Forming a union reinforces co-op values of community throughout our store. Linden Hills Co-op can be a model for how workers and management cooperate to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability at all levels.”

When workers first started discussing forming a union, they met at each other’s houses discreetly to create a safe space to refine their goals and identify who would be most interested in organizing.

“Organizers helped provide advice and experience, but this organizing was done by us – we were making commitments to each other to have each others’ back,” said Grocery Buyer, Bryce Christopherson. “For other workers who are forming their union I would advise as much transparency and outreach to your co-workers as feasible. And reach out – we are happy to help you go through the process of forming your union.”

Mark McGraw from the Scanning department said, “I feel more connected than ever to my co-workers and our store, and I’m excited to have all voices at the table as we move forward with our contract negotiations.”

Support for these workers has been pouring in.

“I am an assistant bakery manager and have been a member of my union for 20 years,” said Monica Hayes who works at the Lunds & Byerly’s in Richfield, “and I want to welcome my new brothers and sisters from Linden Hills Co-op.”

“Our union is part of a bigger movement for change. We want to raise industry standards for all retail workers. This is an example of how workers have power when we act together,” said Judi Johnson, an executive board member of UFCW Local 653 who works as the Floral Manager at the Blaine West Cub Foods.

“I’m excited that workers in Minneapolis are organizing a Union to secure long term improvements and ensuring good jobs in our city. Making sure workers have a voice on the job is democracy in action and is consistent with the spirit of democracy that is core to co-ops. As a member-owner at Linden Hills Co-op, I support these workers one-hundred percent,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

“The organizing and activism of these workers is an inspiration to me and all the members of our Local. We wholeheartedly welcome them,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht.

Linden Hills Co-op workers were inspired by other workers who recently organized a union at the Wedge Community Co-op and Whole Foods Co-op in Minnesota and the People’s Food Co-op in Michigan.

###

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UFCW Statement on Andrew Puzder

For Immediate Release February 15, 2017
Contact: press@ufcw.org 


UFCW Statement on Andrew Puzder

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, made the following statement about Andrew Puzder withdrawing his nomination for labor secretary.

 

“Given recent reports that have come to light, it is clear that Mr. Puzder’s values were not the values of hard-working families. His withdrawal proves that the American people still have a voice and the power to shape our government.

 

“Now, the question is who comes next?

 

“Whomever the nominee for labor secretary is, they must respect the rights of all hard-working men and women. They must realize that their job is not to protect the interests of irresponsible corporations, but to protect the rights of all workers, including our members, who deserve and have earned a better life.”

###

 

The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off