Updated: Jun 27
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663 announced Monday morning that grocery workers plan to strike. The announcement comes after working without a contract since March 7.
The UFCW represents over 17,000 employees across the state, and over 2,500 Lunds & Byerlys employees. It has accused the grocer of arguing in bad faith and filed unfair labor practice charges against Lunds & Byerlys.
"Even on the day of our vote, management continued to do [unfair labor practices]. As a bargaining committee, we know this decision to call a strike is a last resort. We refuse to be bullied by our employer,” said Rosemary Loma, a union member and Lunds & Byerlys employee.
The union is demanding better wages and greater pay equity, and is demanding that the store maintain “worker-driven” health.
Lunds & Byerlys responded that the company is “disappointed” in the union’s decision to strike, and has plans in place to prevent the strike from disrupting store operations. A company statement said the store has worked with unions for a long time and hopes to still find common ground. However, union representatives said they were willing to negotiate until midnight to reach a deal, and that management called off meetings early.
The last contract negotiation happened on June 26, just before the announcement to strike. At a press conference Union reps said that during negotiations, Lunds & Byerlys management committed more ULPs, including intimidation and threatening retaliation against employees.
“The workers here are looking for Lunds & Byerlys to be an industry leader. Cub Foods workers have settled their contract and Lunds & Byerlys prides itself on leading the market, so we believe they should do the same, if not better than Cub Foods,” President of UFCW 663 Reina Wong said.
The strike will last from June 29 to July 1; union reps say those days will be the busiest ahead of the July 4 weekend.