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


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.




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UFCW Statement on Andrew Puzder

For Immediate Release February 15, 2017

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

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Our Minnesota Nurses Association Needs your Support!

“UFCW Local 653 supports our MNA brothers and sisters–let’s show them all the support we can!!! Labor needs to stick together now more than ever!!!” -President Matt Utecht

As most of you have likely heard, the Minnesota Nurses Association has authorized a strike at their Allina facilities. They need support from union brothers and sisters.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to support the nurses!

1. Walk the Picket Line:

Nurses will be outside all five facilities from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., June 19-June 25, 2016. You can sign up for a picket line shift at Mid-week shifts are the priority.

2. If you haven’t already, please sign our public petition in support of Allina nurses:…

3. Sign the Public Letter: {CCM:BASE_URL}/…/2066/Allina_Support_Letter_Form.pdf


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2014 Contract Ratification

Minneapolis Retail Grocery Contract Ratification: Bittersweet
By Matt Utecht

Sunday, March 2, 2014, concluded six weeks of “heated” contract negotiations between UFCW Local 653 and our Minneapolis retail grocery store owners. Due to the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the process of negotiations never really concluded after last year’s one-year contract settlement.
Over the summer months of 2013 the framework of the ACA began to become a bit clearer and it became more evident what the scope of its impact on our Health & Welfare fund would be: A shrinking number of participants in both the Health & Welfare and Pension funds over the past number of years and no increases to the level of contributions going into the fund for the past seven years puts our Health & Welfare fund on a course which–left unchanged–would bankrupt the fund in two years.

As Local 653’s new President, I, along with the negotiating committee and the employer group, were given a list of options that ranged from “bad to worse” that if made would get our Health & Welfare fund back to where it should be financially, while also becoming compliant with the Federal government (ACA). The decisions that were made were painful, and they came only after months of research by the Health & Welfare Board of Trustees, fund attorneys, and actuarial studies that were done. We “turned every stone” looking for a solution that would create the least amount of pain to the fewest people. The changes to the fund were not the result of the union or management wanting to make them—we had to!
If you can get beyond the Health & Welfare changes made, many very good things resulted from these negotiations as you can see in the final offer posted below.
The contract was ratified, and now we can move forward and build off this settlement in another two years.
A special thank you to the Executive Board, Negotiating Committee members and Local 653 staff for all your long hours and commitment to your fellow union members in what were some of the most difficult contract negotiations in decades!

Final Offer for Ratification Vote

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2014 Minneapolis Retail Meat & Grocery Negotiations

Employer Proposal

UFCW Local 653 Proposal

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Crow Wing County Fair 2013

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare is Negatively Targeting our Union Health and Welfare Program

Please read the recent article written by UFCW International President Joseph T. Hansen.

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UFCW Local 653 Educational Grant

Recognizing how important education is for the future growth of the young people in this country, Local 653 is again this year awarding ten $1,000 educational grants to our members or their dependents to further their education. The winners will receive a one-time educational grant in the amount of $1,000 to be applied to the verified school for tuition, books, or room and board. The only qualification is that the student will be attending a college, university, junior college, or technical school. The ten winners will be randomly drawn at the August Executive Board meeting from the applications submitted, and winners will be notified in writing after the drawing has taken place. Educational Grant Form

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2012 3rd Annual Breakfast With Santa

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Toys for Tots 2012

Toys For Tots Flyer

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