ST. PAUL, Minn. — Workers at Kowalski’s Markets here have ratified a new, one-year contract that mirrors recent agreements with other local operators, according to the union local.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 said its members voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of the new contract, which replaced one that had expired last August covering about 400 Kowalski’s workers. The relatively short duration of the contract — it expires next April 6 — is due to uncertainty over health care reform, Don Seaquist, president of the local, told SN.
He also said the main issue in negotiating the contracts in the area has been the withdrawal of the employers from a multi-employer defined-benefit retirement plan and the migration to a retirement plan that had previously been supplemental.
Negotiations are continuing with Supervalu’s Cub stores in the area, the Rainbow Foods stores owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s, and the local Festival Foods/Knowlans chain. Agreements have already been reached with Jerry's Cub stores and with Lunds/Bylerly's.
The only difference between the Kowalski’s contract and that of those previously settled is that Kowalski’s workers were given 10 cents per hour in wages as a bonus while others were given gift cards, Seaquist explained.