Tuesday morning, a group of workers protested outside a shareholders meeting for Supervalu, the parent company of Cub Foods.
It was the latest in what has become a long series of similar demonstrations, some held at Cub Foods stores. The protesters say workers who clean Cub Foods locations have been treated unfairly, and have seen a significant pay cut over the past few years.
But Mike Siemienas, spokesman for Supervalu, says the company has been unfairly targeted, and the "aggressive" protests have forced them to take legal action.[jump]
Siemienas notes that the employees who clean Cub Foods stores actually work for Carlson Building Maintenance, an independent contractor, and are not directly employed by Cub.
"With all of the protests, Carlson has not told us that they have received any complaints about the working conditions of our stores," he says.
He also questions how many of the people who have been protesting actually work in Cub Foods stores.
"They represent floor cleaners across the Twin Cities, is my understanding," says Siemienas of the protesters. "We're one of numerous retailers in the Twin Cities who use these floor cleaning companies."
In reaction, Supervalu has filed a civil suit against the protesters and a temporary injunction that bars them from disrupting Cub Foods stores. "We had no choice but to file the lawsuit," says Siemienas.
When asked about the criticisms, Veronica Mendez, a leader in the protesting group, says quite a few of the demonstrators clean floors at Cub locations. Though she didn't have an exact number, she says more than 50 employees who work in Cub stores -- or have in the past --signed a recent petition put out by the protesters.
She also disputes the claim that the group has unfairly targeted Cub Foods, arguing that Supervalu chooses to contract with Carlson, and is still responsible.
"I think it's clear that they have a responsibility for this," she says. "They're a leader in the industry, and I think that they can be a leader in making sure that workers are working with dignified wages and working conditions."