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Cub Foods Workers Are Going on Strike for the First Time Ever

Plus healthcare for the undocumented, polite warnings for corporate child abusers, and a holy AirBnB in today's Flyover.

UFCW Local 663|

The scene from last night’s vote count.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Consumers United in Backing the Unionized Workers

Racket readers saw this one coming since Monday. "All we need is two-thirds to go for a strike, and we already have that number," 25-year-plus Cub produce manager Brett Carlson told us. "[Striking] is a last resort thing, and we hate to use it, but sometimes you have to... If we don’t fight now, the next contract they’re just going to bowl us over." A strike authorization vote Tuesday evening revealed that workers had way more than enough votes: Of the UNFI Local 663-repped workers who cast ballots, 94.5% of 'em voted to go on strike. So, from Friday through Saturday, around 3,000 workers will picket outside 33 Twin Cities Cub stores. It's the first-ever known Cub worker strike, according to union officials.

Wages are the top sticking point; Carlson says workers haven't received "a decent raise" in 10 years, despite powering the company through a pandemic that saw grocery sales boom. "We're deeply disappointed that the union elected to spend today taking a strike authorization vote instead of using that time to meet with us," whined Mike Wilken, a PR man for Cub's newish Rhode Island-based parent company, United Natural Foods, Inc. Speaking to Racket last month, union prez Rena Wong described UNFI's contract proposals as "really disrespectful." What does all this mean for shoppers who might need last-second Easter hams, as one panicked reporter actually asked at today's union press conference? It means your ass can avoid picket lines at any of these fine establishments.

New Bill Could Expand Healthcare to 40,000 Undocumented Immigrants

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, around 54,000 undocumented people were uninsured while working in-person, essential jobs at the peak of the pandemic. Many of those workers hail from Central and South America, making them part of the Latino population, who, according to stats across the U.S., were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized and/or die from COVID. Now, if an omnibus bill making its way through the state legislature passes, low-income undocumented people will be able to obtain health insurance through MinnesotaCare. “When people don’t have access to health care, they get their care in the emergency department, which is significantly more expensive,” State Sen. Alice Mann (DFL-Edina), who authored the MinnesotaCare Immigrant Inclusion Act, tells Sahan Journal’s Hibah Ansari in this great rundown on what this could mean for undocumented Minnesotans.

Senators to Target, General Mills: Please Don’t Exploit Children

Child labor laws are good. There are many good reasons they exist. And there are many bad reasons that corporations, whenever possible, might try to skirt them. Today Senators Alex Padilla (D-California) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) sent a very polite open letter to the CEOs of 27 major corporations—including Minnesota-based corps Target and General Mills—that have been cited as by NBC News, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the New York Times for breaking federal child labor laws. “We ask that you closely examine your own child labor practices and ensure you are compliant with federal labor laws to avoid putting more children in harm's way,” the letter requests very nicely. There has been a 69% increase in child labor law violations, and just last November, the Department of Labor sued contractor Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. for egregious child labor abuses at Minnesota facilities.

Wanna Spend a Night at This 137-Year-Old Church?

Racket readers love a novelty AirBnB. And there are some truly wild ones a short car ride away, including this small-town schoolhouse turned AirBnB, this kitschy-fab mid-century rental, and this chicken farm AirBnBAWK. So we feel we'd be remiss to not let you know about the Lyndale Church Lodge, a deconsecrated (but freshly updated!) Minneapolis church originally built in 1886, located just a few blocks away from Hola Arepa. The space includes two-and-a-half renovated bathrooms, a new kitchen, and three bedrooms (it can host up to eight people). The original pews and pulpit remain, and there's a big-screen TV over the altar. “‘Lastly,’ you can enjoy ‘supper’ at our magnificent 12 ft. round dining table which conveniently seats 13,” states the online listing. “You can reenact DaVinci’s Last Supper.” (Actually, you’re gonna need a rectangular table for those kinds of holy shenanigans.) Formerly known as the Church of Saint Francis, the Lodge is now run by Kyle Rooney, who purchased it from Father Richard Curney with his blessing. You can watch a cute news segment on the reno and their friendship over at KSTP.

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