UFCW Local 663 President Utecht is sending this letter to all UFCW Local 663 members who work for Corporate Cub Foods. The letter is being made available for all to view as well.
May 6, 2019
As your union president, I’m dedicated to communicating with you throughout the process of UNFI finding a company to purchase Cub Foods. Since the announcement of the sale last July 26, 2018, your union has shared news at every membership meeting, through text, and over social media. I want to share an update with you regarding the sale of Supervalu to UNFI.
I sent a letter to UNFI’s CEO Steve Spinner on December 5, 2018 urging him to “consider potential buyers who will honor and comply with our collective bargaining agreements and who will build our shared values into the purchase agreement.” I also told him, “I made sure to communicate with our United Food & Commercial Workers Local 663 affected membership that their union will continue to protect and uphold their contracts, as well as your intentions to live up to all of the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement as long as you own the stores.”
This year on April 2, I met at UFCW International headquarters in Washington D.C. with UFCW International President Mark Perrone, UFCW Director of Bargaining Milton Jones, UFCW Region 6 Director Tish Ramirez, UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici, two local presidents from the East Coast who have members at union shops affected by the Supervalu sale, and UNFI CEO Steve Spinner. The meeting lasted approximately two hours. Upon leaving the meeting, there is no question in my mind that UNFI CEO Spinner knows my commitment to fighting for our UFCW Local 663 members.
Here is a quote from UNFI CEO Steve Spinner I asked him to prepare and include in my letter to you:
“Cub has long been Minnesota’s leading grocery retailer. We recognize and appreciate the important role Cub plays in the lives of our customers and communities. We are – and will – continue to invest in both the Cub brand and stores to ensure its continued growth and success.
The Hopkins warehouse team’s work and support remain critical to Cub’s ongoing success. Every decision regarding Cub is made with full understanding of and appreciation for its impact on our distribution center and team.
As we previously communicated, we will eventually divest Cub from our operations. While this process will take time, I guarantee it will be done thoughtfully and with great care. We have a responsibility to our stores and DC associates, customers, and franchise owners to position the Cub business for long-term viability and growth. This is our absolute commitment.”
This statement signals to me that by keeping our union members at Cub Foods and the distribution center working together, UNFI recognizes they are stronger. They are stronger because of the hard work that you do and the excellent customer service you provide to our communities. That’s why Cub Foods continues to be the top grocery retailer in Minnesota. This statement also signals to me that by staying together, there is a smaller chance that non-union competition, such as Hy-Vee, would be considered as a viable buyer.
Your collective bargaining agreements continue to be upheld and honored. I know that you are hardworking people that punch in and out of your shifts, live your lives with dignity and respect, and take care of your families. As UFCW Local 663, we have the privilege and opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder to fight together for what we deserve. I’m never going to quit fighting for our union. If you have questions, please reach out to me at 612-965-4307. Thank you.
President, UFCW Local 663
Link to recent Star Tribune article about Cub Foods.