A recent merger between the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals in Brooklyn Center and Worthington, Minn., has created one of the state’s largest private-sector unions.
The merger, which operates as UFCW Local 663 as of Sept. 1, now has more than 13,000 members mostly in grocery, meat packing, food processing, retail and health care. It is the largest UFCW local in five Midwestern states, according to the union.
In Worthington, members work predominantly in meat packing at the JBS pork-processing plant.
The Brooklyn Center local represents workers at Cub, Lunds & Byerlys, the Seward co-op, and several other businesses.
Matthew Utecht, who had led the Brooklyn Center UFCW Local 653, is president of the merged local. The former president of the Worthington Local 1161, Michael Potter, becomes director of packing.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Lee Borela, a Twin Cities area Cub Foods worker, said in a statement. “Both of our locals are doing well, and it’s just the right thing to do to come together at a time when working people are under attack.”