UFCW PUSHES TO UNIONIZE COPPS STORES

MILWAUKEE -- United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1444 here said last week it is launching a campaign to organize employees at six Copps Food Stores in Madison, Wis., that formerly operated as union stores when they were part of Kohl's Food Stores.horization cards. If the union gathers enough signatures but is unsuccessful in getting Copps to recognize the union voluntarily, Welch said it

MILWAUKEE -- United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1444 here said last week it is launching a campaign to organize employees at six Copps Food Stores in Madison, Wis., that formerly operated as union stores when they were part of Kohl's Food Stores.

horization cards. If the union gathers enough signatures but is unsuccessful in getting Copps to recognize the union voluntarily, Welch said it will file a request with the National Labor Relations Board to call a formal election.

"We need only 30% of the people to sign to file a petition for a vote, but we want to get 65% so we have enough of a buffer against any effort by the employers and any attrition," Welch told SN.

He said the process of gathering union authorization signatures could take up to three months or longer.

Officials of Roundy's could not be reached last week for comment.

There are two other Copps stores in the Madison area that were not part of the Kohl's chain and are not unionized, "though we get occasional calls from employees there [to attempt to unionize them], but nothing beyond that," Welch said.

Efforts have been made by UFCW Local 73A here to organize employees at some of the Copps stores in northern Wisconsin, though those attempts have been unsuccessful, Bill Weitz, president of Local 73A, told SN.

Welch said he expects a more positive response to the unionizing effort at the six former Kohl's stores in Madison because Local 1444 used to represent many of the stores' employees when they were part of the A&P organization.

According to Welch, one edge the union has in the organizing process is that one of its organizers works for Copps. "He knows the people at the stores, and he will get to see what the employer does, rather than us having to rely on getting the information secondhand," Welch told SN.