Union coverage to continue after Rainbow grocery sale

Workers at Twin Cities Rainbow grocery stores that are being sold will continue to have union representation with their new employers, the United Food & Commercial Workers said. Workers at Rainbow stores that are likely to close will receive severance and other benefits and will get help in finding employment, the union said.

Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Inc., announced Wednesday it will sell 18 Rainbow stores to its Minnesota-based competitors, including Supervalu, the owner of Cub Foods, Jerry’s Enterprises and Lunds Food Holdings, Inc.

Another nine Rainbow stores are on the market and will close if not sold. They are located in Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Coon Rapids, Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights, Maple Grove, Savage and Shoreview.

UFCW Local 1189 represents workers in the east metro Rainbow stores, including those in Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights and Shoreview.

“We will negotiate the effects of closing [those stores] and assist our members in finding jobs at other locations,” said Local 1189 President Don Seaquist.

The union will hold meetings with members on Monday to discuss the impact of the sale, he said. The meetings will be at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Local 1189 hall, 266 Hardman Ave N., South St. Paul.

Workers at the 18 stores that are being purchased will be covered by union contracts, Seaquist said. They are:

Ten new Cub stores located at: Chaska, Eagan, Lakeville, Minneapolis (Lagoon), Minneapolis (Quarry), Oakdale, Plymouth (6th Avenue), Roseville, St. Louis Park and St. Paul (Arcade).

Two new Byerly’s stores located in Eden Prairie and Woodbury.

Six stores that remain open under the Rainbow name: Maplewood, Minneapolis (Lake Street), Plymouth (Plymouth Station), Richfield, St. Paul (Midway) and West St. Paul.

“We expect that current members who work at existing operations will transition to the new ownership arrangement,” Seaquist said. “We are proud of our members’ commitment and experience in the retail food industry and expect their value as retail professionals to be honored as jobs are filled.

“We are confident that the new ownership of the existing Rainbow stores will be a model to other retailers in supporting jobs which pay a living wage, honor worker rights and support other locally owned operations.”

The sale price for the 18 Rainbow stores is $65 million in cash plus inventory, Roundy’s said in a press release.

CEO Robert Mariano said, "The economic downturn over the last few years, coupled with an increased competitive footprint in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, has made it difficult for Roundy’s to keep the Rainbow banner competitive. However, we believe the sale of these Rainbow stores to this group of local operators will provide those stores better stewardship in serving their communities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market going forward."

    Our primary commenting system uses Facebook logins. If you wish to comment without having a Facebook account, please create an account on this site and log in first. If you are already a registered user, just scroll up to the log in box in the right hand column and log in.

    Barb_Kucera's picture
    Barb Kucera

    I edit the Workday Minnesota news site, www.workdayminnesota.org