UFCW Local 663 Members approve new 3-year union contract for Brainerd Lakes Grocery Workers


Monday, December 10, 2018

UFCW Local 663 Continues to Lead Unionized Grocery Industry in Variable Annuity Pension Plan that secures futures for hundreds of working families in the Northland

BRAINERD- United Food & Commercial Workers Local 663 members ratified a new 3-year contract last Thursday that builds better lives for more than 400 families in the Brainerd Lakes area. The contract covers union members at Quisberg’s Cub Foods in Baxter, Brainerd, and Super One in Baxter, as well as Miner’s Super One in Crosby.

Benefit highlights include inclusion into the groundbreaking pension remedy through a Variable Annuity Pension Plan (VAP). Members will transition benefit accruals from the current defined benefit plan to the VAP beginning in January 2019. Earlier this year, UFCW Local 663, Supervalu Cub Foods and independent grocers in the Twin Cities negotiated the VAP into their collective bargaining agreements. Significant new employer contributions were negotiated into the current plan which is underfunded. The VAP plan is a defined benefit pension design where the accumulated benefit accrual is adjusted up or down each year based on an investment hurdle rate of 5.5%. A pre-funded stabilization reserve was negotiated to protect VAP benefits in years when assets underperform. A VAP plan is attractive to workers because it reduces investment risk and offers upside in terms of benefit improvements. Employers like VAP plans because the design limits their liability.

“Securing the pension was a priority for me because it secures the future for everybody in this industry. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Mike Insley, UFCW Local 663 member and grocery manager at Cub Foods in Brainerd. He’s been in the industry for 35 years.

In addition to improved wage scales for all members, wage highlights include increased wages of full-time and part-time positions for top of scale and over scale each year of the contract.

“It’s important to me that we fought and won for higher wages, as my family and I depend on it,” says Sandra Livingston, a cashier at Super One in Baxter.

All eligible workers will enjoy a secured employer commitment to pay the increased true cost of the Health & Welfare.

All workers covered under the approved contract will enjoy improved treatment and worker protections in the workplace with new and improved language including: respect and dignity in the workplace, Victim, Witness, and Domestic Abuse leave, and two-week schedules that give union members more established expectations and opportunities to better plan out their lives.

This contract win falls on the heels of the union merger between UFCW Local 653 and UFCW Local 1161 from Southwestern Minnesota this past fall. The merger created UFCW Local 663 officially on September 1st. UFCW Local 663 is now the largest UFCW local in the five-state area with over 13,200 members.

“Our members lead the way to better benefits for their families and a higher quality of life for all. A rising tide lifts all boats. We’re proud to work side by side with our Brainerd Lakes retail grocery members and elevate the industry while doing so,” said Matt Utecht, UFCW Local 663 President.

UFCW Local 663 is a public & private sector union over 13,200 Midwest workers strong in the grocery, meat packing, food processing, healthcare, retail, and other industries.

Contact: Jessica Hayssen

Local 663 bargaining committee members, left to right: Back Row: Ken Link, Taylor Stansbury, Mike Insley, Josh Gunderson. Front Row: Sandy Livingston, Alyssa Grecula, Adam Lies.

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