UFCW Local 663 is building better union grocery jobs, one conversation at a time. And, we have a plan. Our Summer 2019 Special Project Union Representative (SPUR) Program kicked off on Monday, July 22nd to achieve just that. Four union members hit the ground running to make our union even stronger for the future.
About the SPURS
Here’s who’s who in the photo from left to right. Jonathan Canaday works at Cub Minnehaha. Max Collins works at Corporate Cub Bloomington. Hannah Peltier works at Jerry’s Cub Quarry, and Justin Koen works at Cub Eagan East. Together, they are the Special Project Union Representatives. For the next eight weeks, they are visiting our union grocery and co-op stores. They will listen and talk with members who have part-time positions about the power of our union and identify potential workplace leaders. In fact, just in the first week alone, SPURs have had over 318 conversations with members who work part-time in our union grocery stores!
It Takes A Village to Build Better Grocery Jobs
The SPURS have various levels of experience in their grocery industry jobs, ranging from a few months to 12 years as Local 663 members. “As a union member, it’s important to me that our union is always standing behind me. In my 12 years working in the grocery industry, when I had an issue, I could go straight to my union rep. My reps have always been on top of things and took care of me immediately. I’m excited to help build more power within our ranks,” remarked Hannah Peltier.
Jonathan Canaday began in April at the new Cub Foods Minnehaha location. New to grocery retail, he’s interested in learning more about worker safety and protections on the job. Jonathan notes, “It’s important to be protected and safe on the job. I want everyone to have access to the same kind of safety equipment. As union members we can collectively demand the same equipment for everyone instead of letting one person fend for themselves.”
More Workplace Leaders
The SPUR program was an opportunity offered this spring to our Local 663 members who have modified, part-time, Group 3 and courtesy/carryout positions to learn the basics of worker organizing and about the labor movement. The program provides weekly hands-on organizing experience through skills building workshops and engaging directly with fellow members.
The goal of the program is to recruit 100 new workplace leaders to be stewards in our union. Then, it culminates in a volunteer stewards training on Saturday, September 14th.
“I think our SPURS and membership are going to knock it out of the park. They are fired up about the SPUR program to engage our membership, and identify additional workplace leaders. Together we are going to take our union to the next level. Everyone deserves the chance to live a better life, and our union is committed to build that. We can’t do it alone, it will take all of us united to make that happen,” said President Utecht.
A Bold Plan
The summer SPUR program is yet another part of UFCW Local 663’s President Matt Utecht’s bold plan which includes building upon our recent successful grocery and co-op union contracts for our members throughout our local. Therefore, we will identify and build union leadership within our local to keep the great wages and benefits we have. As a result, it also prepares us to mobilize for the future.
Last year, Local 653 and Local 1161 members voted to merge and form UFCW Local 663. The new local is the largest United Food & Commercial Workers local in the five state area, with over 13,200 members. A larger union and more active union members means we have more bargaining power to make real differences in families’ lives. After all, everyone deserves a fair chance at a better life.
Together we have the power and resources to:
- Win more wages and benefits for union members
- Take on tough employers
- Represent members on the job
- Raise industry standards
- Support laws that make lives better on and off the job