Our Union Steward Spotlight features McKenzie Lindberg. She’s a UFCW Local 663 Strong Union Steward who works at Knowlan’s Festival Foods in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
Brooklyn Center born and raised, McKenzie has extra love for her neighborhood. In November of 2018, she returned from school in Mankato and found a job close to her best friend stocking at Festival Foods in Brooklyn Park. From stocking to her current position as a Classified Assistant MOD (Manager on Duty), McKenzie is grateful that Knowlan’s has been “letting me grow here.”
Not Her First Retail Rodeo
“This isn’t my first retail rodeo, but it’s definitely a lot different than working in clothing,” says McKenzie about working in the grocery business. She has a background of working in retail as a manager at American Eagle while she was attending classes at MN State Mankato. McKenzie studied sociology and she says, “Sociology is my passion, it’s the study of societies and how humans act in groups, and that’s why becoming a steward appealed to me.”
Originally approached by coworker and fellow Union Steward Chris Erickson about becoming a steward, McKenzie thought it might be a good fit.
She says,“I’m young, have a good work ethic, and can make connections easily with my younger coworkers. As a manager at the store, part of my job is to roam the store and know everyone. My coworkers know that they can come to me, and I will be there for all of their questions. I feel like I’m bridging the gap with them, and I think that puts me in a unique position to be a union steward.”
McKenzie says to be an effective steward, you have to:
- Connect with people
- Be a voice, AND help people realize they have a voice
- Be trustworthy
- Help fellow union members push through their problems, not bear the weight of them
- Have a fire within you to be a steward
Live the Union Advantage
McKenzie grew up living the union advantage. Her father worked as a union tractor operator and was a member of IUOE Local 49. Her dad had extra opportunities to become better, whether through job training or otherwise because he was a union member. He also had a guaranteed job and stability because he got it in writing through a union contract.
McKenzie was elated when she realized her position at Festival was part of the UFCW Local 663 union family. McKenzie thinks that retail workers get taken advantage of even more than in other industries. Her previous retail experience gives her that perspective. She’s glad she is part of the union and has her coworkers’ backs at work.
As a steward, McKenzie hopes to be open to younger generations of coworkers and educate them on their union benefits and rights.
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