A looming workers’ strike in Lunds and Peerless may affect holiday shopping

The union representing more than 2,500 Lunds & Byerlys workers plans to strike this week during the peak holiday shopping period.

After voting last week to authorize a strike, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663 said Monday that they will strike from Thursday through Saturday before the Fourth of July holiday next week.

The same union represents employees of several Cub stores in the Twins who planned to strike before the Easter weekend before both parties reached an 11-hour deal. The union then dropped charges of unfair labor practices, allegations that are also fueling a looming Lunds & Byerlys strike.

The union said Lunds & Byerlys workers have been without a contract since March 7 and are seeking industry-leading wages and equal pay. Its members also want the worker-led healthcare plan to continue rather than employer-sponsored coverage.

“It makes a lot of us anxious because it’s losing control of our healthcare,” Marshall Everhart, director of a deli at the Eden Prairie store, told a media picket this month.

Health care has been a difficult issue as the company has sought to engage with the union to improve those benefits since 2017, said Casey Enevoldsen, Lunds & Byerlys vice president of employee experience and the company’s lead negotiator.

No more talks scheduled this week.

“This is not normal for our company,” Enevoldsen said. “We have a long history of being able to work with the various unions recognized in our company and come to a mutual agreement.”

Enevoldsen said Lunds & Byerlys offers industry-leading wages and proposed a joint panel to assess equal pay. Part-time workers earn between $14.50 and $18 an hour, according to the union’s website; Traditional full-time employees earn $27.13 an hour. The company has suggested hourly increases from $2 to $4.50 in two years, depending on the job.

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Local 663 filed charges of unfair labor practices against the company, alleging that it made coercive statements to employees exercising their rights to participate in protected coordinated activity and questioned workers about union activity. The local also said that Lowndes illegally monitored union activity and bargained in bad faith.

“We deny any unfair labor practices,” Enevoldsen said.

In the event of a strike by workers, Lunds & Byerlys will put in place contingency plans to operate 22 of the 28 affected stores.

The union stores are: Downtown Minneapolis; northeast of Minneapolis; Bloomington. Burnsville. chanhasen. Egan. Edina’s France Avenue and 50th Street store; Glen Lake Minnetonka; Interstate 7 Minnetonka; Golden Valley Maple Grove Navarra. Nokomis. Plymouth. Lake Prior; a rich field; Ridgedale. St. Louis Park Uptown Wizata.

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