An overwhelming 80 percent of Linden Hills Co-op employees signed and submitted cards to the National Labor Relations Board Thursday to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 653.
Linden Hills workers hope to follow workers at the Wedge Community Co-op and Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth who unionized with UFCW Local 1189. Through collective strength and vision, workers are committed to bringing stronger jobs to our community and the grocery industry as a whole, they said.
Historically, cooperatives are leaders in building strong local economies and raising standards for the availability of healthy, organic, and sustainably raised/harvested food. Co-op employees honor that legacy and vision through collective worker empowerment, taking those longstanding values and practices for product, and extending them to our labor force.
“Giving all workers a voice will make employees feel more involved in improving the Co-op,” said Front End Floor Coordinator Evan Adams-Hanson.
“Cooperative principles teach us that co-ops are democratic organizations that work for the sustainable development of our communities. Unionizing Linden Hills Co-op will extend those principles within, to the workers of the co-op, who seek sustainable employment and a collective voice. I look forward to the merging of these principles and ideals that will form a stronger co-op, together,” said Produce Stocker Cassie Nouis.
Local 653 members were quick to welcome the new workers to their union family.
“I’ve been a meat cutter and member of UFCW Local 653 for 10 years. I look forward to welcoming the Linden Hills co-op workers as brothers and sisters in our union and fighting together to improve retail standards across the Twin Cities,” said Anthony Lanners, who works at Festival Foods in Andover.
Rebecca Pollak, who works at The Wedge said, “As a coop worker in Minneapolis, I am very happy to belong to UFCW. I am excited that my fellow coop workers are holding an election to possibly join us, and I wish them luck and congratulations.”
Cheese buyer Hannah Glaser sees unionization as “an affirmation of mutual support between the staff and business.” Produce Stocker Brian Matson believes “the cooperation of fellow employees in a combined effort to guarantee a better workplace is at the heart of unionization, and that Linden Hills Co-op can be representative of what a community can change if they work together.”
This unionization effort is a mission to reaffirm the core values of Linden Hills Co-op, including participation, autonomy, independence, cooperation, and concern for community, the union said. Inspired by the recent consolidation of Wedge Community Co-op and Linden Hills Co-op, Linden Hills employees believe unionization will also increase our collective capacity to achieve progress on our many shared goals, values, and aspirations. Linden Hills Co-op employees are invested and excited to embark on this effort and believe that we can truly be, in the words of the National Co-op Grocers, stronger together.
After the NLRB receives the signed cards, they will schedule an election for employees to decide whether to unionize.