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Dave Olson, Published June 04 2012

Supervalu employees return to work after brief strike

FARGO – About 85 SuperValu employees went on strike early Monday at the company’s distribution center in Fargo.

They were back on the job later in the morning after ratifying a new contract.

Members of the local Teamsters Union 120 voted over the weekend to reject a contract offered by SuperValu, and picket lines were set up about 6 a.m. Monday.

Contract sticking points included language and how a 50-cents-an-hour raise would be phased in, said Donny Walz, business agent for the union.

After the strike was launched, negotiations continued by phone and union members voted about mid-morning on a revised contract that got the OK from the union.

Company spokesman Mike Siemienas said SuperValu was happy with the vote and the contract, which he said would “continue to provide our employees with good wages, access to excellent health care and a pension plan that is free to participants.

“We thank our employees for approving this contract and look forward to moving forward together,” Siemienas said.

Workers received a $500 bonus for approving the contract.

Most of the workers involved in Monday’s strike make more than $20 an hour, according to Siemiens, who said the picketing at the Fargo SuperValu distribution center did not disrupt service to area stores, including Hornbacher’s stores, which are owned by SuperValu.

Walz said union workers ratified the contract after the company agreed to change some language and to make the wage increase happen sooner.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555