Merged local union will build stronger voice at work for thousands of frontline essential workers in the Midwest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 22, 2021
Contact: Jessica Hayssen
Minneapolis—Union members from United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 663 and 9 voted to build a better life together by overwhelmingly approving a merger vote on Thursday, October 21. The union merger builds an even stronger UFCW union in the five state area, with over 17,000 members across industries.
UFCW Local 9’s majority of union members work in meat packing, with its largest employers in Austin at Hormel and Quality Pork Processing. Union members also work in food processing and various municipalities in southeastern Minnesota. They join the ranks of UFCW Local 663, whose membership includes workers in the grocery industry, meatpacking, healthcare, manufacturing, paramedics/emts and retail statewide.
Union members from both locals are excited about the opportunity to work together as one.
“Both of our local unions do good work sticking up for ourselves and all frontline essential workers during the pandemic. Our combined voices will give us more strength at the bargaining table, in all of the industries we represent,” said Mark Husbyn, UFCW Local 663 member at Cub Foods.
“We’re stronger together. We’ve been working together already to improve meatpacking safety at the legislature so this merger is another step in the right direction for workers,” said UFCW Local 9 member and walking steward Claudia Ambriz, who works at Quality Pork Products in Austin.
UFCW Local 663 will continue to be led by President Matthew Utecht. UFCW Local 9’s President Richard Morgan will transition into a leadership role as the director of packing for southeast Minnesota.
“Both of our locals have deep roots in Minnesota’s labor movement. I’m looking forward to working with President Utecht on the next chapter as we continue to build membership power in Austin, Worthington and throughout the state,” said UFCW Local 9 President Richard Morgan.
“Thousands of frontline essential workers joined together on Thursday and said yes to a better future. I welcome the hard working union members of UFCW Local 9 to Local 663. Together, our union will have more strength at the bargaining table, in organizing, in our communities and at the legislature.
I’m honored to continue to serve hard working union members across the state. Our union welcomes anyone that wants to build a better life by joining together for higher wages, benefits and workplace protections,” said Matthew Utecht, President of UFCW Local 663.
- UFCW Local 653 and 1161 held a successful merger vote in 2018 to form the current UFCW Local 663. 2018’s merger vote joined together both retail and healthcare local with a majority meatpacking local based in Worthington, MN. The 2018 merger created the largest UFCW local in the five state area.
- UFCW Locals 663 and 9 worked together with State Rep. Dan Wolgamott (14B) to introduce Minnesota Safe Workplaces for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers Act in the Minnesota State Legislature and passed the MN House in 2021.
- UFCW Local 663 and 9 continue to advocate for all frontline essential workers to receive some of the American Rescue Plan’s $250 million that is allocated for essential workers in Minnesota during the pandemic, including grocery store, meatpacking and healthcare workers.
- UFCW Local 663 is working with retail workers at Half Price Books to organize the first unionized bookstores in the country in the Twin Cities.
UFCW Local 663 represents more than 13,200 hard-working retail, meat packing and processing, food preparation and manufacturing, healthcare, and other workers in Minnesota and Iowa. We strive to improve the lives of our members and of all working families by fighting for economic, political, and social justice in our workplaces and communities. Local 663 is part of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.