Bakery workers accept wage freeze


Bakers Local 22 members employed by Lund Food Holdings ratified a new two-year agreement with no concessions, but including a two-year freeze on wages. The company agreed to make modest increases into the Health and Welfare Fund for 2011 and 2012, provided that workers match the increase.

The agreement, ratified June 19, covers 100 workers who work in the retail bakery departments at Lunds and Byerly’s grocery stores and 85 who work in the company’s main bakery in Eden Prairie.

Lund Food Holdings, Inc. is the parent company to 10 Lunds and 11 Byerly’s supermarkets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Like other union grocers, the Lunds and Byerly’s chain is experiencing increased competition in the marketplace from non-union Walmart and Target, which are moving aggressively to become bigger players in the local grocery market.

As a consequence, “when it comes time to bargain, it’s much more difficult for union members to get progressive contracts,” said Bruce Peglow, vice president of Bakers Local 22.

“We did as well as we could have in the environment we face,” Peglow said. “It’s tough going right now because of the bad economy and all the non-union players.”

“We have a common interest,” Peglow noted. “We want the employers to do well so we can do well.”

Bakers Local 22 has other retail contracts expiring this fall, covering about 400 workers at Cub Foods and Jerry’s Foods.

Reprinted from the Minneapolis Labor Review.