Fact Finder - UFCW Local 653


Fact Finder - UFCW Local 653
Local 653
Fact Finder
Minneapolis, MN
Vol. 51 No. 3 March/April 2013
Minneapolis Retail Contract Ratified
By Matthew Utecht
On Sunday, March 3, 2013, a contract ratification vote was held at Hall 653. Over one thousand members of the Minneapolis Retail Meat and Grocery
industry voted on and ratified a final offer that would:
(1) Be 12 months in length;
(2) Include maintenance of health and welfare with NO employee/member contributions;
(3) Have those employers who did not open wage progressions on June 1, 2012, have wage progressions for part-time and full-time employees
opened, and those employees will be given credit toward the wage progressions for all hours worked from June 1, 2012, through March 3,
2013, and will be placed at the appropriate rate of pay;
(4) Impose a one-year freeze on top-rated employees, but employers will have the option on a company-by-company basis to give pay increases
to top-rated employees;
(5) Remove from the contract the letter requiring the Health and Welfare Board of Trustees to reduce benefits if reserves fall below six months.
The reason for such a short-term contract was the looming implementation of the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as “Obama Care”)
which is scheduled to begin taking effect in January of 2014.
When told about the January 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some members responded, “What does that have to do with
our contract?” The problem quite simply is no one--from management or the union--has any idea of the magnitude of its coverage, its effect on our
union’s Taft-Hartley fund, and perhaps most importantly what the costs will be. Some experts say it could be the beginning of the end of Health and
Welfare funds like ours, others predict the costs of the ACA to be anywhere from more than our current Health and Welfare cost, to an equivalent
cost, or even less cost than is paid today. The bottom line is that there are no concrete answers to any of these questions.
As a result of all this uncertainty, no employer was willing to go beyond a 12-month agreement, with the thought being that we should wait and see
how this ACA affects us, and then we can bargain a contract with all the cards on the table—good, bad or indifferent.
It was retired President Ray Sawicky’s last contract negotiations, one he had hoped could have made strides to get the membership some decent wage
increases across the board in light of the sacrifices our membership made three years ago, but it just wasn’t going to happen this go around. I was with
Ray every step of the way on this contract, and as one of our negotiating committee members put it, “This may not be what we hoped for, but given
the facts we faced it would be better to live and fight another day.”
Another day will come quickly, and I look forward to leading a new negotiating committee and management group about nine months from now in
what I hope will be a new contract that will move us--the union and our industry--toward a successful future.
Pride in Our Past, Faith in Our Future—Matt Utecht Leads Local 653
By Paul Crandall
On Sunday, March 3, Matt Utecht’s duties as President of Local 653 began with the ratification of the new one-year contract voted on by members
of Local 653. Matt begins his journey as the fifth President of this strong local union with great pride and vision to help this union change and
continue in these turbulent times.
Matt began his union career in 1983, hired as a business agent, leaving Hauser’s in Prior Lake as a full-time evening manager. Matt’s duties over
the next thirty years would include servicing his route (which included retail grocery stores, drug stores, warehouse workers, and Brainerd area
grocery stores), organizing and political education. Matt was involved in many labor disputes, including the Country Club strike and many other
unfair pickets over the years with employers who wouldn’t sign the contract or were treating their employees unfairly. Matt has always been the
first to defend a member when they needed help, and having been by his side on many picket lines, I can tell you he is the first guy you want by
your side when the going gets tough.
In his first article for the Fact Finder in 1983, Matt wrote: “The largest task I think is educating the membership because today with the country
going through hard times and the unions constantly under attack it is more important than ever that we pull together, stay informed and become
active in the local union. As for myself being a young member I say we should stick together, get tough when that is essential, and move ahead in
a time when most unions are happy to stay where they are at.” As you can see, his mission statement remains the same for the future.
Matt was always involved in the union, having grown up in the rich tradition of labor representing the working families of Minnesota since 1941
when his grandfather became President of Local 653. Matt’s father Gene became President in 1971, and honestly, many of Matt’s traits and
characteristics, if you really know him, are ingrained from his father and mother’s deep faith, family values, integrity and strong leadership skills.
This local union has faced many challenges over the years and these times will challenge all of us as we head into the future. With Matt’s
leadership I look forward to this local union’s direction for many years to come. Congratulations, Matt!
Este artículo se encuentra disponible en español en la página tres
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UFCW Local 653
13000 63rd Avenue North
Maple Grove, MN 55369
763-525-1500 or 1-800-292-4105
Matthew P. Utecht, President
Richard Milbrath, Secretary-Treasurer
Business Representatives
RAINBOW FOODS: Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington,
Brooklyn Park, Chaska, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Lake Street, Lakeville, Maple
Grove, Plymouth (6th Ave), Plymouth Station, Plymouth
(Vinewood), Quarry, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Savage,
St. Louis Park, Uptown
Brainerd / Baxter Cub Foods - S.A.V.E Foods - Baxter
Super One - Crosby Super One - Pequot Lakes Supervalu - Byerly’s St. Cloud
JERRY’S CUB FOODS: Bloomington, Brookdale, Eden
Prairie, Knollwood, Lake Street, Nicollet, Rogers, Southdale, West Broadway
JERRY’S FOODS: Edina, Eden Prairie, Jerry’s Enterprises
Ingebretsen’s - Everett’s Foods - Nelson Meats - Swanson Meats - Cooper’s County Market - Sullivan’s Supervalu - Almsted’s Fresh Market - Village Market - Jubilee
Foods - Bergan’s Supervalu - Cub Foods Shakopee Driskill’s Foods - Oxendale’s Market
FRESH SEASONS MARKET: Minnetonka, Victoria
JERRY’S FOODS: Jerry’s Sausage
LUNDS: Lake Street, Central, Edina, Richfield, Minnetonka, Bloomington, Wayzata, Navarre, Plymouth,
Hennepin, Lunds Kitchen, Trainers/Drivers
BYERLY’S: Edina, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Ridgedale, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Eagan, Maple Grove
BONE MARCHE’: St. Louis Park
Homestead at Anoka - Bryn Mawr - Park Health & Rehab
- Golden Living (Bloomington & Chateau) - Innsbruck
Healthcare - Oaklawn Healthcare - Gold Cross - Brede’s
- Hirshfield’s
KOWALSKI’S MARKETS: Lyndale, Eagan, Hennepin,
Chicago, Eden Prairie
CORPORATE CUB FOODS: Apple Valley, Burnsville
HOTC, Burnsville South, Eagan East, Eagan West,
Lakeville, Lakeville South, Rosemount
KNOWLAN’S FESTIVAL FOODS: Andover, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park
CUB FOODS - Coon Rapids (Williston), Minnetonka
JERRY’S CUB: Elk River
CORPORATE CUB FOODS: Crystal, Shorewood, Savage, Chanhassen, Bloomington, Blaine North & South,
Brooklyn Park North & South, Coon Rapids South, Champlin, Fridley, Maple Grove, New Brighton, Rockford Road,
Silver Lake Road, Vicksburg
Do You Know and Understand Your “Weingarten Rights?”
By Doug Rigert
The “Weingarten Rights” specify that a union employee has the right to insist upon the
presence of a union representative in an interview that is conducted by the employer
or a representative of the employer that could result in disciplinary action against the
employee. The National Labor Relations Act gives employee/union members the right
to assistance by having union representation during investigatory interviews. The rules
governing Weingarten Rights were declared by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 in a ruling
from the National Labor Relations Board vs. J. Weingarten, Inc.
Not every discussion with a supervisor is an investigatory interview. In most cases
discussions relate to job duties or suggestions on how to become more proficient at our
jobs. However, if during the interview an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline
or perhaps adverse consequences could result from what he or she says, the interview at
the point becomes investigatory.
It is very important to remember that the employee must request representation. It is not
the employer’s or company’s responsibility to inform an employee of their Weingarten
Rights. An employee may request representation before or during an interview, after
which the company must decide to grant the request and delay questioning until the union
representative is present or deny the request and end the interview immediately.
¿Conoce usted y entiende usted sus “Derechos Weingarten?”
Por Doug Rigert
Los “Derechos Weingarten” especifican que el empleado sindicalizado tiene el derecho de
insistir por la presencia de un representante sindical durante una entrevista que toma lugar
con un representante del empleador la cual resultaría en una acción disciplinaria contra
el empleado. El Acta Nacional de Relaciones del Trabajador/el derecho de los miembros
del sindicato a la representación durante las entrevistas de investigación. Las reglas que
gobiernan los Derechos Weigarten fueron declaradas por la Suprema Corte en 1975 de
los Estados Unidos en una decisión final tomada de parte de la Directiva de Relaciones
Nacionales del Trabajo contra J. Weingarten, Inc (National Labor Relations Board vs J.
Weingarten Rights, Inc.).
No todas las entrevistas con su supervisor son entrevistas de investigación. Casi todas las
discusiones están relacionadas con sus obligaciones de trabajo o con sugerencias de cómo
ser más eficiente en el trabajo. Sin embargo, si durante la entrevista el empleado tiene
razones para creer que disciplina o tal vez las consecuencias en su contra podrían resultar
de lo que él representante del empleador dice, la entrevista en ese momento se convierte
en investigación.
Es muy importante que usted recuerde que el empleado debe de solicitar la representación.
No es la responsabilidad del empleador o la compañía el informar al empleado sobre sus
derechos Weingarten. Un empleado puede solicitarla antes o durante una entrevista,
después la cual la compañía debe de otorgar la solicitud o posponer la entrevista hasta
que el representante del sindicato esté presente o negar la solicitud y finalizar la entrevista
Executive Board Members
Matthew Utecht, President
Theresa Kick, Vice President 7
Richard Milbrath, Secretary Treasurer
Lorrie Wayman, Vice President 8
Colleen Ryan, Recording Secretary
Nick Stute, Vice President 9
David Maas, Vice President 1
Paul Merchlewitz, Vice President 10
Aaron Flatgard, Vice President 2
Melissa Charles, Vice President 11
Paul Henry, Vice President 3
Judi Johnson, Vice President 12
Mary K. Schmidt, Vice President 4
Scott Larson, Vice President 13
Thomas Potvin, Vice President 5
Mike Gaulrapp, Vice President 14
Doug Dehmer, Vice President 6
Keven Millner, Vice President 15
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El Contrato Ratificado de los Minoristas de Minneapolis
Por Matt Utecht
El domingo, 3 de marzo del año 2013, la ratificación del contrato tomó lugar en la sala 653. Más de mil miembros de la industria de Minoristas de
Carne y Abarrotes votaron por y ratificaron la oferta final que será de:
(1) de 12 meses de duración;
(2) inclusión de la permanencia de la salud y el bienestar SIN las contribuciones de los empleados/miembros;
(3) tener los empleados quienes no abrieron progresiones de salario el primero de junio del año 2012, tener las progresiones de los empleados
de salarios de medio tiempo y tiempo completo de manera abierta, y a dichos empleados se le dará crédito cubriendo las progresiones de
salarios por todas la horas trabajadas del 1 de junio del año 2012 al 3 de marzo del año 2013, y serán colocados en la escala apropiada de
(4) imposición de congelación a los empleados de alta clasificación, pero los empleadores tendrán la opción basada de una compañía a otra de
otorgar los incrementos de salarios a los empleados de alta clasificación;
(5) remover del contrato la carta que requiere a la Directiva de Fideicomisarios de la Salud y Bienestar a reducir los beneficios si las reservas
caen por debajo de los seis meses.
La razón por dicho contrato de corto plazo fue la esperada implementación del Acta Accesible de Cuidado (más comúnmente llamada “Obama Care”)
la cual tomará efecto en enero del año 2014.
Cuando se anuncio sobre la implementación de la Acta Accesible de Cuidado (Affordable Care Act o ACA por sus siglas en ingles), algunos miembros
respondieron, ¿”Y eso que tiene que ver con nuestro contrato”? El problema es que simplemente, que, ni la administración ni el sindicato, tienen
alguna idea de la magnitud de la cobertura, los efectos en nuestro fondo Taft-Hartley, y posiblemente de más importancia, cuales los costos serán.
Algunos expertos sugieren que esto será el comienzo del final de nuestros fondos de Salud y Bienestar, otros predicen que los costos de nuestra ACA
serán más altos que el costo de nuestro actual plan de Salud y Bienestar, un costo equivalente, o tal vez menos del costo que es pagado actualmente.
En conclusión, no hay respuestas concretas a esas preguntas.
Como el resultado de dicha incertidumbre, ningún empleador irá más allá de un acuerdo de 12 meses, pensando que debemos de esperar y ver cómo
la ACA nos va a afectar, y después debemos de negociar un contrato con todas nuestras cartas sobre la mesa, lo que sea bueno, malo o de indiferencia.
Fue la última negociación del Presidente Ray Sawicky, la cual él esperaba sería de gran avance para que la membrecía tuviera un incremento de salario
decente de manera igualitaria en vista de los sacrificios que la membrecía decidió hacer tres años atrás, pero que no tendría efecto esta vez. Fue Ray,
en cada paso del camino en este contrato, y como uno de los miembros de nuestro comité lo expresó, “Esto, tal vez, no fue lo que esperábamos, pero
por la realidad que vemos, será lo mejor para luchar otro día más.”
El otro día más vendrá pronto, y espero con emoción el dirigir el comité de nueva negociación y administración en los nuevos nueve meses venideros,
en lo que espero será un nuevo contrato que nos movilizará- - nuestro sindicato y nuestra industria- - hacia un futuro de éxito.
Orgullo en Nuestro pasado, Fe en Nuestro Futuro-Matt Utecht Dirige la Local 653
Por Paul Crandall
El domingo 3 de marzo, Matt Utecht comenzó como con sus obligaciones en la Local 653 con la ratificación de un contrato nuevo de un año votado
por los miembros de la local 653. Matt comenzó con su jornada como el quinto presidente de su poderoso sindicato local con mucho orgullo y
visión para ayudar su sindicato a un cambio que continúe durante estos tiempos de turbulencia.
Matt comenzó su carrera en el sindicato en 1983 como representante sindical, cuando dejó la Hausers en Prior Lake como administrador vespertino.
Las obligaciones de Matt durante los próximos treinta años incluyen dar servicio a su ruta (lo que incluyen las tiendas de abarrotes, farmacias,,
los trabajadores bodegueros, y las tiendas de abarrotes del área de Brainerd), organizando y proveyendo educación política. Matt se involucró en
muchas disputas laborales, incluyendo la huelga del Country Club entre otras huelgas durante los años con empleadores quienes no firmarían los
acuerdos o los cuales no estaban tratando a sus empleados de manera igualitaria. Matt ha sido el primero en defender a u miembro cuando este
lo ha necesitado, y estando con ellos en las filas de huelga, les puedo decir que él es el primero a quien usted quiere tener a su lado cuando la
situación se pone difícil.
En su primer artículo Fact Finder en 1983, Matt escribió: “El trabajo más grande, pienso, es el educar a la membrecía porque hoy como el país
está pasando por tiempos difíciles y los sindicatos están constantemente bajo ataque es más importante que nunca el permanecer juntos, estar
informados y estar activos con nuestro sindicato. Y, yo como un miembro joven les digo que debemos de permanecer unidos, ser agresivos cuando
es necesario es esencial, e ir hacia adelante en el tiempo cuando casi todas los sindicatos permanecen contentos a donde están.” Como ustedes
pueden ver, su meta permanece por lo mismo hacia el futuro.
Matt siempre se involucró con el sindicato, creció bajo una tradición de familias que apoyaron a las familias trabajadoras de Minnesota desde
1941 cuando su abuelo se convirtió en presidente de la Local 653. Gene, el padre de Matt se convirtió en presidente del sindicato en 1971, y
honestamente, muchas de las características de Matt, si usted lo conoce bien, son un reflejo de la fe, valores familiares, integridad y el fuerte
liderazgo de su padre y su madre.
Esta Local se ha encarado muchos retos durante el paso de los años y nosotros veremos esos retos con el paso de los años mientras avanzamos
hacia el futuro. Con Matt como líder me emociona ver la dirección que este sindicato tomará en los años venideros. ¡Felicidades Matt!
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March/April 2013
Member News and Events
Service Pins sent out
through February 2013
5 Years
April Anderson (Driskill’s)
Kirk Anderson (Jerry’s Cub – Southdale)
Barb Baker (County Market – Andover)
Maria Bergeron (County Market – Andover)
Henda Dridi (Jerry’s Foods – Edina)
Marlena Leavy (Jerry’s Cub – Knollwood)
Chris Nelson (Jerry’s Cub – Southdale)
Catherine Pitz (Jerry’s Foods – Edina)
Sheila Salzer (Cub – Brooklyn Park South)
Robert Wilcoxon (Jerry’s Cub – Knollwood)
10 Years
Diane Anderson (Baxter Super One)
Youssef Beddi (Jerry’s Foods – Edina) Tracie Blue (Jerry’s Foods – Eden Prairie)
Mustapha Essamit (Jerry’s Foods – Edina)
Charlene Grams (Rainbow – Plymouth 1)
Richard Jackson (Sullivan’s SuperValu)
Brigida Jaimes (Jerry’s Foods – Edina) Karen Knudsen (Jerry’s Cub – Southdale)
Jeannie Norcross (Bergan’s)
Virginia Ronsberg (Festival – Andover)
Daniel Spiess (Jerry’s Cub – Bloomington)
Rawlyn Thorp (Jerry’s Cub – Knollwood)
Kong Vang (Jerry’s Cub – Knollwood)
15 Years
Christine Jerde (Rainbow – Apple Valley)
Jaime Melby (Driskill’s)
20 Years
Scott Alberg (Jerry’s Cub – Bloomington)
Julie Abbott (Byerly’s – Ridgedale)
Carrie Gelking (County Market – Andover)
Brian Hardcastle (Rainbow – Bloomington)
Vicky Leier (Cub – New Brighton)
Carin Quinehan (County Market – Andover)
Paul Soler (Jerry’s Cub – Lake Street)
Beverly Tellefson (Cub – Vicksburg)
25 Years
Betty Abatte (Rainbow – Plymouth 1)
Jackie Cook (Jerry’s Cub – Knollwood)
Stephanie Fern (Rainbow – Brooklyn Park)
Diane Grabowski (County Market – Andover)
Jeffrey Johnson (Jerry’s Foods – Edina)
Scott Nordling (County Market – Andover)
Tom Pitleck (Rainbow – Quarry)
Eric Rain (Byerly’s – Chanhassen)
Monese Starr (County Market – Andover)
Christine Young (County Market – Andover)
30 Years
Kathleen Anderson (Byerly’s – Maple Grove)
John Fitzpatrick (Jerry’s Foods – Edina)
Sue Lalim (Festival – Brooklyn Park)
Steve Newman (Village Market)
Paul Olson (Cub – Eagan West)
Shirley Olson (Baxter Super One)
John Thomas (County Market – Andover)
Colin Wiest (County Market – Andover)
Check out our member blog to see what’s happening for
member news and events at:
You can also check out our websites:
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UFCW Local 653
Rental Information
Mark Your Calendar...
...for the Local 653 family picnic and fishing
contest, which will be held on Wednesday,
July 17, 2013. We will again be at Beebe
Lake Regional Park in St. Michael.
All retirees and members and their families
and friends are welcome. Look for more
details in upcoming Fact Finders.
“Big Hurt”
By Nancy Vaillancourt
Nick Kirk, aka “Big Hurt,” has worked for Knowlan’s Festival Foods for
nine years. He has been involved in wrestling since he was 15 years
old. Nick wrestled in high school for Prior Lake, going to state as
a sophomore taking 5th place, as a junior taking 4th place, and as a
senior in 2001 taking 3rd place. After high school he wrestled for the
University of Minnesota for one year.
Nick has now been training and competing in mixed martial arts
(MMA) fights for three years. He spends two to three hours each
day training along with 40 to 50 others at Minnesota Martial Arts
Academy in Brooklyn Center. Nick currently fights at the 135-pound
weight class, and has participated in about 13 fights, traveling as far
as Canada, Michigan, and South Dakota, as well as local fights in the
metropolitan area.
Camp 653 - Monticello, MN
Available to all active dues-paying UFCW Local 653 members and
retirees receiving a UFCW Local 653 pension! Park-like atmosphere
along the shores of Lake Ida.
Ideal location for store parties, or company picnics, family gatherings,
even special events like weddings and reunions.
Sites are available on first-come, first-served basis.
Bathrooms, showers, dump station,
beach, boat dock, horseshoe pits, playground, bocce ball, croquet, basketball,
ladder golf, beanbag toss, and fishing
Sites 1-15- RV’s and pop-ups.
Sites 16-25- Tents (one tent per site).
All sites have electricity.
Ours Resort - Lutsen, MN
Available to all active dues-paying UFCW Local 653
members and retirees receiving a UFCW Local 653 pension!
Ideal location for quiet little retreat or a family reunion. No matter the
season, there are plenty of activities you can choose from- whether
it be nature hikes, snowmobiling, skiing or fishing. You will enjoy the
many scenic views the North Shore has to offer. OPEN YEAR-ROUND!
Indoor-Fully equipped kitchens,
HDTV, Blu-ray/dvd player, fireplace,
porch/deck, beddings, towels, and
Outdoor- Charcoal grill, deck chairs,
swing set, horseshoe pit, and a
beautiful view of Lake Superior.
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Your Union: Get Involved—Come to a Membership Meeting
By Jim Schommer
We have recently concluded contract negotiations with our employers for the Minneapolis Retail Contract. I sat in the meetings and listened to
then President Ray Sawicky and new President Matt Utecht talking to the negotiating committee about molding the future of our union now so it
will be here in the future. I looked at the members involved in the negotiations, or for that matter at our membership meetings, and I saw very few
younger members getting involved. Most of us working at the union now (your Executive Board and Business Agents) got involved at a younger
age by going to a membership meeting, voting on a contract, or by going to one of the many events we have throughout the year. I know times
are different than they were 20 to 30 years ago, and everyone is very busy, but this is our and your future. We need the younger generation to
become involved.
With that in mind, we need those members who have been around for awhile to start educating the others about our union. Maybe try to bring
someone to a meeting or event with you (that’s how I got involved almost 28 years ago). We offer many different opportunities just for being a
member, ranging from professional sports ticket giveaways to a union campground, and even a resort on the North Shore. Visit our website at
www.ufcw653.org for all the opportunities available to Local 653 members.
These many benefits all come just because you are a member of the union. The benefits come from the past union members’ hard work and
dedication to bettering the union. We need your help, hard work and dedication so that we can keep providing these great benefits--and maybe
even more--in the future.
With all that said, the most important thing we offer is union representation. We will help you with any contract issues that might be happening
in your stores.
Membership meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, October through May, at 6:30 p.m. at our union hall in Maple Grove. Please
get involved and help mold your future.
The Importance of Attendance
By Greg Larson
We all have busy lives, but we must also learn to take care of priorities.
Like it or not, a job is one of the top necessities in life. We need money,
not only to enjoy our lifestyle, but to survive!
One of the surest ways to get into trouble at your job is to have poor
attendance. Poor attendance is more than not showing up for work when
you are scheduled; it is also not being on time when you are scheduled,
or returning late from breaks. Being habitually late or missing work is not
just a personal thing—it does affect others.
Unfortunately, being constantly late for work or missing work altogether
are easy habits to fall into. Each time it happens it gets a little easier to
do it. These are habits that could cost you your job!
Employers need dependable people to get the job done. Good
attendance and punctuality also show an employer that you have a good
attitude toward your job.
Remember, when you work for someone and accept pay from them, you
are forming a work contract. It is your duty to be at work regularly and
on time. Employers don’t hire people to give their money away—they
hire them to produce. No matter how unimportant you may think your
job is, if an employer is paying you to do the job, it is important that they
get their money’s worth.
Camp 653
Opens May 1st!
To make reservations contact Liz at UFCW
Local 653 (763-525-1500). Camp 653 is
located at 601 County Rd 39 NW
in Monticello, MN.
I Am Not the Union
By Steve Milner
On a recent store visit I came upon a person I have not seen in about
30 years, when I worked with him at a small employer in town. While
exchanging our stories about the lost time, I was thinking about what
kind of person he was and how impressed I was with his dedication to
his job back then.
This was a young man, the only child of immigrant parents, who was
taught many lessons about life and the need to work hard. He told me
back then that his parents were proud that he had a union job and that
it was his responsibility to get involved and make sure that others could
follow his example. In those early years he attended union meetings, he
volunteered and got involved. He was proud to be part of the process.
Unfortunately because of the sale of the store where he worked he lost
his job of 13 years. The next five years did not work out so well. Now a
young father and husband, he struggled to find employment in a union
shop. He had to take any job to make ends meet. But he never gave
up—he pushed forward, working where he could, but he never gave up
on getting another union job.
Now the good news is that for the past 13 years he has been working in a
union shop (not a store) with the security and future he worked hard to
attain. He is an active member in his local and does whatever he can to
make the future bright for others. In the end he was very excited to tell
me that now he will have two pensions when he retires.
I am telling you this story to help explain why I am not the union—you
are. Yes, I am the person you call to enforce the terms of the contract,
and I do my best to make sure that hard-working people have the
security and protection our contract provides. But without the support
of the many hard-working, dedicated, involved members I would not be
able to do my job.
During the past two months I saw a great example of those hardworking, dedicated, involved members. The members of the negotiating
committee gave of their time and worked extremely hard to hammer out
a fair contract. It does not end there. Many members attend monthly
meetings and also volunteer and help whenever needed. They are the
union, and without them we would not exist.
Union Yes
United We Bargain – Divided We Beg
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Minimum Wage Increase Proposed at State Level
El Salario Mínimo Propuesto al Nivel Estatal
One of the topics at the legislature this year is raising the state’s
minimum wage. The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Minnesota is one of only four states with a lower minimum wage
than the Federal wage. Several bills are lining up to address this
issue. They range from coming up to the $7.25 Federal amount to
bills that over time will bring the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 an
hour. These are bills being proposed and they have not passed, so
don’t start counting your money if you may be affected.
Uno de los temas en la legislatura este año es el incremento del salario
mínimo. El salario mínimo federal es de $7.25 por hora. Minnesota es
el único de los cuatro estados con el salario mínimo más bajo que el
salario Federal. Varias legislaciones están en espera de ser atendidas
en respecto a este tema. Abarcan de incrementar a $7.25 Federal a la
legislación que durante el tiempo incrementará el mínimo a $10.50
por hora. Está legislación está siendo propuesta y no ha sido aprobada,
así que no comiencen a contar su dinero si usted será afectado.
If a Minnesota employer grosses less than $500,000 a year, they
can pay a lower minimum ($6.15) but few companies qualify. The
Chamber of Commerce is opposing any increase on the basis that it
is not heads of households but teens and second-job-holders getting
minimum wage. Apparently gas, tuition and food costs have not
gone up for those categories... This demographic is a huge part of
spending and kicking the economy in gear.
Si un empleador en Minnesota gana menos de $500.000 al año, este
puede pagar un mínimo más bajo ($6.15) pero muy pocas compañías
califican. La Cámara de Comercio se opone a cualquier incremento con
el argumento que no son padres de familia, sino adolecentes y personas
que tienen un segundo trabajo quienes ganan el salario mínimo.
Aparentemente la gasolina, la colegiatura y los costos de alimentación
no han subido en esas categorías… Este aspecto demográfico es una
parte enorme del gasto y mantiene la economía en plena velocidad.
By Bill Spartz
I don’t know if any bill will pass the Minnesota Legislature this year,
and if it does, I don’t know where the wage will be, but we will be
watching and let you know if anything happens on this issue, among
Por Bill Spartz
No sé si alguna legislación pasará en Minnesota este año, y si pasa,
no se a donde los salarios estarán, pero permaneceremos atentos
y les dejaremos saber si algo sucede con esta situación, entre otros
March/April 2013 - Fact Finder - Pg 7
044_1.indd 7
3/22/13 3:20 PM
UFCW Local 653 Membership Meetings
Retiree’s Club Meetings:
Dates: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. Cards
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Speaker
Where: Knights of Columbus
Marian Hall
1114 American Blvd. W
Bloomington, MN
April 1, 2013
May 6, 2013
6:30 p.m.
UFCW Local 653
13000 63rd Avenue W
Maple Grove, MN 55369
United Food & Commercial
Workers Union, Local 653
13000 63rd Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369
763-525-1500 or 1-800-292-4105
Change Service Requested
Permit No. 2899
Twin Cities, MN
For More information contact:
Thea Gullekson @ 952-831-3143
Char Hanson @ 612-869-9035
Marlen Wahl @ 952-888-3220
So Long, Farewell, Auf
Wiedersehen, Goodbye!
By Ray Sawicky
We have all heard the saying that “time flies by.” Now that I
am retiring I can understand why people say that. It seems
like just yesterday to me when I walked into the Kroger
grocery store on 18th Avenue and University in Northeast
Minneapolis to apply for a carryout job. That was in October
of 1968 and I was 16 years old. Now 44½ years later I am
retiring as President of Local 653. Yes, time does fly by.
Over the years I have seen a lot of changes to our industry.
Some of these changes were for the good and some were
not so good, and your new leadership and the members will
face new changes and challenges in the future. I believe
that with the leadership of Matt Utecht as President and
the support of an experienced Executive Board and staff
and a very well educated membership you will meet all the
changes and challenges head on, and Local 653 will thrive
in the future.
I have gotten to know many union members over the years,
and it has been an honor to represent all of you the last 33
years that I have worked for Local 653. I would personally
like to thank all of you for the support and friendship you
have given me. May God bless all of you and your families
and fulfill all the hopes and dreams you have for the future.
044_1.indd 8
3/22/13 3:20 PM

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