UFCW 653’s Mark McGraw receives OUTreach scholarship to national Creating Change Conference

New UFCW Local 653 member Mark McGraw of Linden Hills Co-op recently received one of five prestigious nationwide UFCW OUTreach scholarships to attend the Creating Change Conference in Washington D.C. this January. Congratulations!

Mark is thoughtful, inclusive, and fearless in his organizing. His humor and ability to speak the truth helped advance conversations with fellow bargaining committee members and co-workers in store more than once throughout the organizing and bargaining. He took the time to talk to every co-worker about wanting to represent them at the bargaining table and asked for their vote – he ended up with the most votes.

The Creating Change Conference is organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force and it is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for thousands of committed people to develop and hone their skills and share victories. In the past two years, the OUTreach Executive Board members have participated as one of the leading workshop presenters, putting our union, UFCW, in the forefront as a key voice for working class and labor issues at this conference. In a time where the labor movement and everything we have fought for is under attack, OUTreach’s dedication to organizing social and economic justice for all workers and ensuring full equality of LGBTQ workers at work and in their union reflects our union’s commitment to building a resilient working class that is not divided by hate.

UFCW OUTreach is a constituency group dedicated to building mutual support between our union’s International, regions, and locals and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and their allies in order to come together to organize for social and economic justice for all, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Together, they will ensure full equality for LGBT workers on their jobs and in their unions.

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What do you want to see in New Fact Finder?

Attention UFCW Local 653 members! We’re redesigning the Fact Finder newsletter to better fit the needs of our membership. Best newsletter ever? Yes! But only with your help. Please take one minute to do this quick online survey so we can listen and respond to your voice! Thank you!

Complete survey here!



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Ours Resort Half Priced Deals!

Ours Resort is a special place any time of year, and it’s a wonderful destination in the winter.  It’s located just one mile from the Lutsen Mountains ski resort, which has great ski slopes.  There are also nearby snowmobile and cross country ski trails.  Even if you’re not into outdoor activities, it’s hard to beat sitting in front of a nice fire looking over Lake Superior.

Sound interesting? We’re making it even more affordable than usual! Starting December 1, reservations made for stays between January 1 – March 31, 2018, are HALF PRICE!
Ours Resort is owned and operated by UFCW Local 653. It consists of six cabins on Lake Superior in Lutsen, MN. Each cabin is fully furnished–you only need to bring your food, clothes, and personal items. (Check our web-site–www.ufcw653.org–under Member Benefits for more information.)

Ours Resort is available to active, dues-paying members of Local 653 and retired mem-bers who are receiving a UFCW Local 653 pension.  Call Sandy at the Local 653 office (763-525-1500) today to make your reservations.  You’ll be glad you did! Ours Half-Price Sale Flyer

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Union Label now proudly at Linden Hills Food Co-op

The UFCW Local 653 Union Label window cling is now proudly facing customers as they enter Linden Hills Food Co-op. Have a great weekend, everyone! #unionlabel #1u #checkthelabel #shopunion

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UFCW Local 653 & Quisberg’s joins groundbreaking efforts to help eliminate blood cancers across the globe

 UFCW Local 653 & Quisberg’s joins groundbreaking efforts to help eliminate blood cancers across the globe

Baxter, Minnesota – Today, S & R Quisberg Incorporated is making their mark in creating a world without blood cancer with the launch of Labor Against Cancer. Labor Against Cancer is a movement to end the devastation of cancer, led in Minnesota by the passionate members of The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 653 and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

S & R Quisberg, operating stores in Brainerd and Baxter under the name Cub Foods and Pequot Lakes Supervalu, launched a company-wide initiative and is encouraging its customers to make donations at checkout to benefit Labor Against Cancer. All donations help in the fight against blood cancers. Customers can donate now through November 18th at Cub Foods in Brainerd and Baxter, or at the Supervalu in Pequot Lakes.

Members of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 653 work at Cub Foods in Brainerd, Baxter and Supervalu in Pequot Lakes. Nationwide, the UFCW represents 1.3 million members and has been a powerful voice for LLS since the partnership began in 1982. The organization has raised $83 million for LLS’s goal to find cures and ensure blood cancer patients have access to lifesaving treatments. Similar fundraisers are planned in the Twin Cities area in 2018 at union grocers.

“Our union family is proud to be partnering with Chris Quisberg and his companies to find a cure that impacts millions of people. We all know someone who’s been impacted by blood cancer. Every dollar raised is one dollar closer to ending cancer,“ said Matt Utecht, President of UFCW Local 653.

“At S & R Quisberg, we are always looking for ways to help people. When UFCW Local 653 came to us with this opportunity to partner with them and the LLS we jumped at the opportunity. I am always amazed at the generosity of our communities when we hold fundraisers, being able to provide an avenue for our customers and employees to give money to such a worthy cause is the least we can do to help,” said Chris Quisberg.

“We are grateful to UFCW Local 653’s President Matt Utecht, Local 653 members, Chris Quisberg, S & R Quisberg, and all the employees who are lending their support,” said Matt Russow, Campaign Manager at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UFCW Partnership. “As the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to ending blood cancers, LLS is honored to partner with UFCW, with its own powerful network of communities, to have a positive impact on all blood cancer patients and families.”

Every three minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer, and every nine minutes someone dies from blood cancer. Today, nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S. are living with, or are in remission from a blood cancer. The funds raised during this campaign will help LLS advance research to find new treatments and cures.

As there are no means of preventing or screening for most blood cancers, LLS is focused on finding cures; the organization is doing more than any other to find cures and help patients access lifesaving treatments.  In its 68 year history, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance cancer treatments and cures. And the progress made in the blood cancers is helping patients with other cancers and chronic diseases.

Labor Against Cancer will raise much needed funds to advance research and patient support in partnership with LLS while raising awareness of the important role that union members play each and every day.

For more information, please visithttp://www.lls.org/labor-against-cancer.

About The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

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. Learn more about the UFCW atwww.ufcw.org.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ###



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Breakfast with Santa sign up now open!






If you’re interested in attending this year’s Breakfast with Santa, you can click here: http://www.ufcw653.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017_Fillable_Brkfst_Santa_form2.pdf

Or you can fill out the registration form in your Fact Finder. Checks can be made payable to UFCW Local 653. We will confirm your registration via email when we receive your registration form and payment. If you do not provide an email address, we will mail a confirmation letter to the address we have on file for you.

Local 653 also partners with United States Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program. We are accepting new, unwrapped toy donations at this event.

Please call 763-525-1500 for more information.




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UFCW Condemns White House Decision to End DACA

Sept. 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel, and a betrayal of what America stands for.

“Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school, and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement.

“President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities, and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love.

“On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all Members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.”

Click here for an informational letter for locals from UFCW International President Marc Perrone.

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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

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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.

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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.

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