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President Matt Utecht petitions the mayor and city council members of Brooklyn Park in effort to combat Hy-Vee. See his letter to Mayor Lunde below.

Hy-Vee Letter to Mayor Lunde from President Matt Utecht

President Utecht's Letter to Public Re. Victoria's Market

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To:  Matt Utecht-President, UFCW Local 653

From:  Dale Riley-Co-Founder of Fresh Seasons Market

As a Co-Founder, and former President of Fresh Seasons Market, I feel it is important at this time for me to state my feelings about the past support that UFCW Local 653 provided to the employees of Fresh Seasons Market, and to the management of Fresh Seasons as well.

Without the support of 653, including you Matt, Fresh Seasons would not have been able to keep our doors open for business.  While I was President of Fresh Seasons, I asked 653 for permission to ask our employees, your members, to vote on substantial wage and benefit reductions.  Not only did you allow the vote, you presented the facts of Fresh Seasons financial situation factually, and with a clear understanding of the benefit to Fresh Seasons should the concessions be approved.  The concessions were approved, and the day following the vote, 653 purchased Fresh Seasons gift cards from our store to give to our employees to help with the reduction of income they would be experiencing.  Not only did this help our employees, it also provided several thousands of dollars in cash for our business.

For the record, Local 653 was a true partner to Fresh Seasons Market.  And, on behalf of the dozens of former Fresh Seasons employees, that helped build and run very successful supermarkets in the communities of Glen Lake and Victoria, THANK YOU Local 653, for your support of these great people as they try to recoup any compensation that may be due them.                                              

Letters Addressing Glen Lake and Victoria Communities from President Matt Utecht:

Dear Glen Lake Community:


The Glen Lake's Market has recently distributed a bulletin criticizing UFCW Local 653's efforts to seek justice for the former employees of Fresh Seasons market. I want to make sure that the record is set straight.

First, let me be clear about the Union's purpose. We want the former employees of Fresh Seasons to be paid what they are owed. Period. Any claim that the Union is out here solely to "intimidate and spread false accusations" so that Glen Lake's Market will "sign a union contract" is completely false. We're here for one reason: justice for our members. The moment that Tom Wartman, as owner of Fresh Seasons, pays his former employees what they are owed, this Union will consider this dispute resolved, pack up, and go. And we believe that Tom Wartman can make that happen any time he wants.

Second, before you buy in to these negative claims about the Union, read Mr. Commins' letter closely. He begins by accusing the Union of making "false accusations" "that employees were cheated out of money." And then in the next paragraph admits that when "Fresh Seasons closed its doors . . . some of the Fresh Seasons Market's past employees did not receive accrued vacation pay, benefits and a disputed pension amount." If anyone is spreading false information, it is certainly not the Union.  

And finally, make no mistake: the Union is not "anti-business" as Mr. Commins would apparently like you to believe. We're pro-employee. We fight for the rights of our members, who also happen to be your friends, family, and neighbors. That's why we're here. Wouldn't you do the same?

Sincerely,


Matt Utecht
President, UFCW Local 653


Dear Victoria Community:

The Victoria’s Market has recently distributed a bulletin criticizing UFCW Local 653's efforts to seek justice for the former employees of Fresh Seasons market. I want to make sure that the record is set straight.

First, let me be clear about the Union's purpose. We want the former employees of Fresh Seasons to be paid what they are owed. Period. Any claim that the Union is out here solely to "intimidate and spread false accusations" so that Victoria’s Market will "sign a union contract" is completely false. We're here for one reason: justice for our members. The moment that Tom Wartman, as owner of Fresh Seasons, pays his former employees what they are owed, this Union will consider this dispute resolved, pack up, and go. And we believe that Tom Wartman can make that happen any time he wants.

Second, before you buy in to these negative claims about the Union, read Mr. Jedlicka's letter closely. He begins by accusing the Union of making "false accusations" "that employees were cheated out of money." And then in the next paragraph admits that when "Fresh Seasons closed its doors . . . some of the Fresh Seasons Market's past employees did not receive accrued vacation pay, benefits and a disputed pension amount." If anyone is spreading false information, it is certainly not the Union.  

And finally, make no mistake: the Union is not "anti-business" as Mr. Jedlicka would apparently like you to believe. We're pro-employee. We fight for the rights of our members, who also happen to be your friends, family, and neighbors. That's why we're here. Wouldn't you do the same?

Sincerely,


Matt Utecht
President, UFCW Local 653 


Workday Minnesota Picks Up Labor Review Story

Click here for article.


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Glen Lake's Market Picketing Begins 6/17/15

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Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation came out Day 1 at Glen Lake's Market to interview former Fresh Seasons employees. Article and pictures can be found on their Facebook page or by clicking here.
 

Breaking: A HUGE Victory for Workers Today!

Breaking: A HUGE victory for workers today, in the House of Representatives. Moments ago the House failed to advance fast track legislation. Nancy Pelosi credited the efforts of people who called their legislators on the House floor before the vote.

That means UFCW members and other people across the country concerned about workers' rights and our economy made a huge difference. Without the efforts of the working people to get the message to their members of congress, fast track would have been a reality.

GREAT WORK! Read UFCW International President Marc Perrone's statement here.

 

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New TPP Ad Released Urging a "No" Vote on Fast Track
 

Letter Sent to All Members of the House of Representatives Asking: “Will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve?”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Highlighting the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the reluctance of the Obama administration to release details, the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) today released a new ad urging members of the House of Representatives to vote no on fast track.

 

As part of its intense lobbying campaign, a letter was also sent to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives where UFCW International President Marc Perrone made clear what is at stake. “Will you stand with the irresponsible corporations and special interests that are pushing fast track and the TPP?” he wrote. “Or will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve?”

 

“America’s workers and hard-working families and their advocates have been completely shut out of the process,” Perrone added.

 

In the letter, Perrone decried President Obama’s strong-arm tactics on the trade deal and urged members of Congress to remember their obligation to their constituents.

 

“President Obama has regrettably made the vote about loyalty to him,” he wrote. “At the UFCW, our loyalty is to the 1.3 million hard-working men and women we represent and their families. Your loyalty should be to this country, to your constituents, and not President Obama, one party, or a secret trade deal.”

 

“The secrecy has gotten so egregious that when a group of concerned citizens went to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office last week, not only were they prevented from reviewing the agreement, USTR staff locked the door to the visitor’s entrance,” the letter reads. “It leaves you to wonder: what are they hiding?”

 

“Our elected leaders must acknowledge what the President refuses to—that unfair trade deals have been catastrophic for hard-working families, driving down wages and benefits, shipping jobs overseas, and exploding income inequality,” Perrone concluded.

This week the UFCW will engage in a major blitz, reaching out directly to undecided members of Congress who will determine the outcome of fast track. This includes the ads in Politico, which highlight a bipartisan concern over the issue of secrecy and the right of the American people to know what is in this deal. A print ad ran today and digital ads are scheduled to run throughout the week.

The full letter is linked here.
 

Say "No" to Fast Track

People across the country are making calls to their lawmakers to let them know that working folks do not want and cannot afford another bad trade deal. We deserve trade policy that works for everyone, not just the top 1%.

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Fast Track legislation shrouds trade deals in secrecy. It makes it nearly impossible for Congress to fix trade deals that harm our economy and environment. It prevents citizens from providing input to proposals while the deal is being negotiated. It makes you wonder what they're trying to hide.

Call your Representative right now at 1-855-712-8441.

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Front Page of Minneapolis Labor Review! (click here for full article)

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Victoria's Market Informational Picketing (Articles, Pictures and Info to Volunteer Below!)


UFCW Local 653's legal counsel, Tim Louris, stopped by the picket line to show his support this past weekend and there was an appearance from Tom Wartman himself. See pictures below.

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Rich Gannon, former NFL quarterback and sports commentator for CBS Sports and Sirius XM NFL Radio stopped by the picket line at Victoria's Market yesterday. He told President Utecht, "I'm a union man!" Rich has 18 years in the NFL Players Association and is currently a member of the Broadcasting Union. He supports UFCW Local 653's efforts against Tom Wartman and the nonunion operation of Victoria's Market.

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Two former Fresh Seasons employees (pictured below) also met Rich Gannon, former NFL quarterback and sports commentator for CBS Sports and Sirus XM NFL Radio, yesterday on the picket line in Victoria. 
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Click here for full article

Chanhassen Villager Article On Our Efforts: Click here! 

Volunteers Still Needed! Contact Scott Larson at 612-961-6305.

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Welcome to UFCW Local 653

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 653 represents many jobs, including grocery store workers, nursing home employees, exposition services and paramedic ambulance employees. Strong, active and informed members are essential to the strength of your union. With the participation of our members, the union is able to gain for improved wages, benefits and working conditions. UFCW Local 653 is proud to offer members monthly newsletters, special eventstournamentsscholarshipsticket drawings and access to Ours ResortCamp 653 and our Hall 653 banquet facility.

list_desi.jpg Union meetings will be held the first Monday of every month (October - May) starting at 6:30 p.m. Join us to find out more current information regarding your union. 

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UFCW Local 653- Thank you so much for the gift cards I received at the Health Fair. I thought the Health Fair was a huge success. It was informative and fun. The free immunizations were great! I hope you continue to have the Health Fair. Thank you again!

-Carol
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