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Supervalu union strike begins... and ends - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Supervalu union strike begins and ends

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A strike by SuperValu workers lasted only a couple hours before the union and the company reached a new agreement.

ORIGINAL STORY

Contract negotiations between SuperValu Inc., a national grocery and pharmacy retailing company, and a local union have gone south, and now there's the threat of a strike.

SuperValu supplies Hornbacher's and other independent grocery stores in the region.

On Friday, the Teamsters Local 120 union voted down a contract offer and authorized a strike vote, affecting 85 employees at the Fargo distribution center. But there won't be any picketing as of right now.

SuperValu and the union have been involved in contract negotiations for the past several weeks. Mike Siemienas, a representative of SuperValu says, "We made a generous proposal on Friday that would have increased wages, provided excellent healthcare coverage at very little coast to employees and continued to offer a pension plan that is free to participants."

The company says the two year contract they proposed would raise current wages of more than $20 per hour by 50 cents, create an incentive program based on productivity and offer free health care and a pension plan for most employees.

Siemienas told us, "It's especially disappointing because we feel we made a contract offer that was more than fair."

Union leaders say there's a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to these negotiations. Right now, they're taking a step back from the table and assessing everything before moving forward.

Though the strike vote doesn't surprise SuperValu. Siemienas explains, "It's fairly common for unions to use strike authorization votes as a pressure tactic in negotiations."

He says SuperValu is more than willing to work with the union to reach an agreement. The corporation hopes leaders will return to the table to continue discussion soon.

If employees do decide to walk off the job, SuperValu has plans in place to keep the distribution center running.

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