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Employee-Owned Hy-Vee Eliminates Employee Discount

Plus another new low for the Strib Ed Board, Fleck's classroom antics, and braille menus in today's Flyover.

3:34 PM CST on February 20, 2023

Twitter: @Eaganhyvee|

A strange photo we discovered from inside the Eagan Hy-Vee. In any case, employees will no longer receive discounts on their turkey, no matter how they intend to use the birds.

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

Hy-Vee Suddenly Cuts Employee Discount Program

Earlier this month, we were singin' the praises of the employees at Hy-Vee in Robbinsdale, who make the grocery store's bar such a wonderful (if somewhat confusing) place to go for happy hour. Welp, those workers—along with 93,000 other Hy-Vee workers around the Midwest—just lost their employee discount. In a video sent to employees Monday (watch the whole thing here), Executive VP Georgia Van Gundy blames “fraud and abuse” on the part of Hy-Vee employees as she informs them they'll no longer get a 10% discount at stores. She cites specific examples of "abuse," including a Fuelsaver account that was used in five states over the course of an hour and workers whose discount is being used by multiple families in multiple states.

Which... kind of seems like an enormous cop-out? Like, who cares? To quote one worker on Reddit: "WOW. So they can identify the exact fraudsters, who they are and where [their] Fuelsavers were used, but all of us are being punished." If an "employee-owned" company, as Hy-Vee proudly touts itself, erasing a major employee benefit sounds incongruous, consider the fact that Hy-Vee "ownership" manifests via participation in a special 401(k) plan... that ex-workers have sued the company over.

Strib Editorial Board: Feeding All Kids is “Excessive”

Making school breakfasts and lunches more accessible shouldn’t be a contentious issue. But last week the Strib Editorial Board went full right-wing austerity mode, arguing that universal meal programs in schools are wasteful. Some context: The Minnesota House recently passed a bill that would give schools $360 million over the next two years to provide students, regardless of income, two free meals every school day. (Similar provisions are already in place in response to the pandemic but are winding down.) “Some Republican lawmakers have rightly argued that spending millions on meals for kids whose families can afford them would be fiscally irresponsible,” the paper's professional opinion-havers stupidly conclude, after noting that many people support these types of deals because it removes the stigma, paperwork, and uncertainty of some families' wildly fluctuating month-to-month income.

And god forbid a less-in-need kid gets something for free, right? "It's not because I don't care about kids who are hungry... Rather, this is a shotgun technique instead of surgical approach," Rep. Peggy Bennett (R-Albert Lea) told the Strib when asked why she’s against the bill, a quote the Ed Board includes to support its backwards position. Also, yikes: Try avoid using gun metaphors when talking about schools, folks.

Let’s Poke Fun at P.J. Fleck’s Classroom Insanity 

Is P.J. Fleck an unhinged, sloganeering phony? Or is he a passionate, visionary football coach? Those two questions have swirled around him since he arrived at the University of Minnesota in 2017, and a definitive answer remains elusive. (To the latter Q, the great Patrick Reusse pushed back against revisionist visions of where he stands in Golden Gophers history.) Since new clues as to whether Fleck is full of shit are always enticing, we gobbled up this Strib piece on the coach’s new class at the Carlson School of Management. 

Highlights of his seven-week “Everyday Moments of Leadership” undergrad class include: the literal smashing of a vase, and later distributing the shards as souvenirs ("just like in leadership, [the vase] is fragile”); the three L's of leadership, which initially stump his students (listen, look, and... lift?); pointers about how blaringly you should speak in the workplace (“remember, volume reflects confidence”); and strange reveals about his alarm clock (it vibrates three times before playing a Jimmy Buffet song, and Fleck challenges himself to be up by the first chord). We’ll leave you with the egg lesson, per writer Chip Scoggins: 

“[Fleck] shares that he gave every member of his staff a plastic egg this year. A golden egg in a nod to Willy Wonka. Fleck loves to use acronyms for motivational tactics. In this case, egg stands for energy, gratefulness, growth. That's how he plans to evaluate his staff this season.”

Making Menus More Accessible

This is pretty great: Craft & Crew Hospitality, the restaurant group that owns Stanley's Northeast Bar Room, the Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar, and four other area restaurants, has started providing braille menus. WCCO has the whole story, which started with a blind customer at the Howe named Matthew. Watching him order the same thing time after time, Mary Rohr, Craft & Crew's manager of diversity, equity and inclusion, thought it would be good to get a menu he can read. Now, she and the restaurant group are calling on other Twin Cities restaurants to do the same, saying that it was both easy and affordable to do. "You don't need to have 20 on hand, you can just have one you can pass around if need be, it's something I think every restaurant has the capability of doing," general manager Alex Huntress told CCO.

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