Half Price Books workers in Roseville, St. Paul form unions

Half the staffing has meant double the work for employees since the chain of booksellers reopened post-pandemic, but workers are pushing back.

Jennifer Christensen: ‘We really are dedicated, as a union, to everyone doing better’

Jennifer Christensen’s career with the United Food and Commercial Workers started over 30 years ago as a part-time deli worker at Cub Foods, and it will end this month, when she retires as president of South St. Paul- and Duluth-based UFCW Local 1189.

Grocery workers ask you to #ShopSmart during pandemic

“It’s about keeping yourself safe, keeping the workers safe and keeping the community safe,” UFCW Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen said.

Bernie Hesse: ‘Don’t do something out of charity, do it out of solidarity’

He is gruff and often combative, principled and usually blunt. But above all else, Bernie Hesse is a trade unionist. From his days as a grocery clerk to his current work as director of special projects for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, Hesse has made himself ubiquitous in St. Paul’s labor community. If […]

Poised to strike this weekend, AT&T wireless workers seek support on picket line

Some 21,000 AT&T wireless workers in 36 states – including about 2,000 in Minnesota – plan to strike this weekend, a show of frustration over the company’s failure to negotiate a new contract that protects good, family-supporting jobs. The strike is set to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow unless AT&T and the Communications Workers of America, which […]

Jeff Couillard: What if retail workers took a two-week break – starting on Black Friday?

It’s that time of year when retail executives get excited about the kind of record profits they will be raking in from mid-November to the end of the year. Retailers have been pushing out their deals earlier and earlier so consumers have more and more choices to cash in on a “super” deal ahead of […]

Dave Kamper: Missed opportunity 50 years ago offers insight into labor’s current challenges

The Union Advocate recently reported that Local 1189 of the UFCW has rejected a so-called “final offer” in negotiations with the owners of Cub, Rainbow, Lunds & Byerly’s, and other major retail grocers in the East Metro. Notably absent from the negotiations, of course, are two of the largest grocery retailers in the Metro, Wal-Mart […]

East Metro grocery workers reject ‘final offer,’ urge continued negotiations

In a nearly unanimous vote yesterday, East Metro grocery workers rejected a hastily crafted “final offer” from their employers. About 3,700 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 began contract negotiations in late February with several St. Paul-area retail grocers, including Cub Foods, Rainbow, Jerry’s Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski’s Markets, Festival Foods, […]

Workers OK first contract, making Wedge first union co-op in Minnesota

Workers at the Wedge voted Tuesday to ratify their first union contract, making the Minneapolis grocer the state’s first unionized co-op. Wedge Community Co-op workers voted last November to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, seeking higher wages, an equitable process for dealing with management and a voice in decisions that affect the co-op’s […]

Fight for $15 strikes: Legal, protected, effective

  From fast food to retail, workers in low-wage jobs around the country, including Minnesota, are increasingly staging short-term, high-profile strikes to advance their movements for higher wages and a voice on the job. Walking off the job in protest is a costly, risky tactic to employ – even for one day. In addition to […]