On Feb. 23, workers at Linden Hills Co-op in Minneapolis voted to join UFCW Local 653 by an overwhelming margin. The workers wanted to actively ensure good jobs and a sustainable co-op that best serves the needs of the community, and have begun circulating bargaining surveys to help the bargaining committee understand their fellow workers’ priorities.
“We are excited to begin the bargaining process because it is the next step in making our already amazing co-operative even more amazing. We love where we work. This is an extremely positive thing!” said Tracie Lemberg, who works in the health and body care department.
“I have been working at co-ops in the Twin Cities since I was 16. Forming a union is the best way to make sure all workers are treated fairly and have a say in creating a positive work environment. I’m proud to work at this co-op and look forward to making it an even better place,” said Emily Calhoon, who works in the produce department.
“Forming a union reinforces co-op values of community throughout our store,” said Evan Adams-Hanson, who is a front end floor coordinator. “Linden Hills Co-op can be a model for how workers and management cooperate to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability at all levels.”
When workers first started discussing forming a union, they met at each other’s houses discreetly to create a safe space to refine their goals and identify who would be most interested in organizing.
“Organizers helped provide advice and experience, but this organizing was done by us – we were making commitments to each other to have each other’s back,” said Bryce Christopherson, a grocery buyer. “For other workers who are forming their union, I would advise as much transparency and outreach to your coworkers as feasible. And reach out – we are happy to help you go through the process of forming your union.”
“I feel more connected than ever to my coworkers and our store, and I’m excited to have all voices at the table as we move forward with our contract negotiations,” said Mark McGraw, who works in the scanning department.
“The organizing and activism of these workers is an inspiration to me and all the members of our local. We wholeheartedly welcome them,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht.