MINNEAPOLIS — A judge in Hennepin County, Minn., has issued a temporary restraining order barring protesters from entering area Cub Foods stores following Supervalu ’s complaint of a “misguided and increasingly aggressive” campaign by advocates for store janitors.
Supervalu filed the suit late last week against Centro de Trabajadoes Unidos en Lucha (CDTUL) and two of its individual organizers, charging the group — which advocates for better wages and working conditions for retail cleaning workers — with disrupting business at area Cub stores operated by Supervalu and a licensee, Jerry’s Enterprises. The suit alleges that over a course of several months, protesters from the group disrupted business and intimidated customers at several stores despite the fact that cleaning workers at the stores are employed by a third party.
Supervalu’s janitorial subcontractor is Carlson Building Maintenance, White Bear Lake, Minn.
“During the past year, senior leaders from Cub and Supervalu and Jerry’s have separately met with this group, and we keep telling them they are not our employees and they need to talk to their employers,” Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for Supervalu, told SN Tuesday. “We have not received any complaints from the cleaning company or any of their employees.”
Supervalu also complained of “false and malicious statements” made by CDTUL, including the group’s allegations of human rights violations at its stores.
CDTUL is seeking to negotiate better working conditions and wages for nonunion employees of Carlson. It is currently engaged in a “hunger strike” to call attention to worker rights, including a boycott at two Cub stores over the weekend.