On March 30, more than 70 percent of Eastside Food Co-op employees in Minneapolis signed and submitted cards to the National Labor Relations Board to unionize with UFCW Local 653. Eastside Food Co-op workers hope to follow workers at the Linden Hills Co-op who joined UFCW Local 653 last month, and aim to raise standards both at their co-op and the larger retail grocery industry.
“I support the union movement here at Eastside,” said James Mossak, who works in the grocery department at Eastside Food Co-op. “Our goals are to continue to support a fair work environment, provide accountability and transparency, and to have a strong voice at the table in regards to policies that affect us Eastside employees.”
Co-ops are long standing champions of organic food, sustainable agriculture, the environment, and fair trade which supports good working conditions and fair wages for producers. Workers at Eastside Food Co-op believe in those co-op values, and are forming a union as an extension of those values in their own workplace.
“I love working here because I love this community, I love produce and educating people on how to use and preserve it. I am excited to form a union so we can ensure Eastside Food Co-op continues to be an amazing resource for the community, and a great place to work for all of us here now and in the future.” said Whitney Manning, who works in the produce department at Eastside Food Co-op.
After delivering signed union authorization cards to the NLRB, workers passed out flyers and wore buttons in store to show solidarity. A large group of workers also participated in a delegation to the interim store manager, John Lacaria, to inform him of their decision to form a union.
“Eastside Coop has always strived to be a tightknit community of workers,” said Angelique Allebach, who works in the scanning department at Eastside Food Co-op. “We take pride in our store and each other. We are creating unity for workers and want to work together with management to make sure all voices are heard.”