Our Position: Please continue to support our local grocery stores


By Matt Kilian, President

Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce

Since last December, Cub Foods (Brainerd and Baxter), Super One (Baxter and Crosby), and Supervalu (Pequot Lakes) have been engaged in contract negotiations with the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 663. Before you pass judgment on these businesses or choose to shop elsewhere, we at the Chamber feel compelled to share some facts.
To be clear, we believe workers should have the right to collectively bargain in good faith for fair wages and benefits. We owe local grocery workers sincere gratitude and respect for helping to feed our communities every day. They displayed true courage and commitment during the COVID crisis, which reflected the values of our community.
Because we know these men and women have good hearts, it’s hard to comprehend their metro-based union’s tactics that we believe cross a line.
Even while exchanging early contract proposals, the union staged random walkouts and store disruptions during the busy Christmas season. They continue to paint store owners as heartless and greedy, repeatedly publicizing their personal phone numbers on flyers, websites and social media. This has resulted in a deluge of profane and threatening messages, which have taken a deep toll on business leaders and their families.
At the same time, the stores report unidentified individuals walking down aisles and knocking groceries off the shelves. While some have left behind scattered shopping carts full of perishable items, others have taken bites of produce and other unpaid food. Very little of this vile activity occurred before the negotiations.
It’s time to call out this behavior for what it is—unacceptable.
While Super One is owned by Hermantown’s Miner family, Cub Foods and Supervalu have been locally owned by the Quisberg family since 1985. Until recently, they have been highly regarded as good employers with many long-term employees. Hundreds of area teenagers can say their first job was at a local grocery store, including those with disabilities (like my own son).
The Quisberg family, in particular, is among our area’s most generous and community-minded business owners, supporting organizations like the Salvation Army, Camp Confidence, Northland Arboretum and Brainerd Lakes Chamber as well as area schools, churches and youth sports teams.
In light of all this, we call on Local 663 to condemn actions designed to intimidate, discredit or damage these upstanding businesses, especially considering they will employ their members in the future. While we understand the obligation to do right by union members, which can mean tough negotiating, the Miners and Quisbergs deserve far better.
To Cub, Supervalu and Super One customers: If you receive communications asking you to boycott these stores, we encourage you to not take sides and continue supporting your preferred grocer until the parties reach an agreement. Visit www.yourfamilygrocers.com for the other side of the story.

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