Daily Union Update from President Utecht


Our members in grocery stores are at the front line of this pandemic. I want to take a moment to thank you for the important and critical work that you do. You are holding it down for yourselves, your families, and let’s face it, for the rest of us. Customers in our communities would be lost with you. You are truly the unsung heroes in these uncertain times. I will continue to honor your commitment by fighting like hell to get every penny and protection you deserve, and then some.
Thank you.

Fighting For Our Front Line Workers

I have been building a coalition to reclassify retail grocery workers as Tier 1 “Critical First Responders.” Our members are on the front line in the battle against COVID-19. As such, they should be protected as other first responders. Our members provide essential services to Minnesotans and our UFCW family throughout the country does the same.

Here are the letters I sent to Governor Walz, Senator Klobuchar, and Senator Smith today.

Our growing coalition includes UNFI/Cub, Seward Community Cooperative, Teamsters Local 120, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Minnesota AFL-CIO, and the International UFCW.

Moments ago, the head of the Minnesota Grocers Association reached out to me about partnering. Here is an excerpt of the email below.

“The reason for my email is to see if there was anything that we could do collaboratively on behalf of our industry’s workers. Your letters were shared with me and its message was incredibly important. We too have been in communication with the administration and our regulatory agencies regarding our concerns for grocery team members. We have also been working diligently to ensure that Minnesotans are considering their food supply workers when they visit their local grocery stores. This is such an unprecedented time, and the strains, fatigue and challenges facing everyone are extraordinary.”

Needless to say, I welcome the opportunity to partner and will keep you updated. 

Union Increases Opportunities for Members 

I sent a notification to our retail grocers that I have temporarily suspended any of the limits for the Full-Time Waivers in our collective bargaining agreements found in Article 23 for 30 days. Given the circumstances and pressures that our union members and grocers are facing throughout our state and around the country right now, I think this is the right thing to do, as it allows members to take advantage of hours available because of increased workloads.

If you would like to view the waiver, you can always find them on our website: https://www.ufcw663.org/forms.

TEAM is There for You

Every member of UFCW Local 663 has access to TEAM, our Employee Assistance Provider. You have 100% coverage of services provided. This is a very stressful time, and TEAM provides a multitude of services to help you with whatever life situation you are dealing with. Please call them at 800-634-7710 or visit the TEAM website!

Ongoing Resources for Workers During COVID-19 Outbreak

In our ongoing efforts to keep communication lines open and information available, here is a list of useful websites during these uncertain times that you and your family may find helpful.

Stay In Touch, Stay Connected

If you have a coworker who hasn’t received the emails but wants to, please forward them this email and they can sign up by clicking here.

Thank you for the work that you do, and as always, reach out to me with any questions or concerns that you have.

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