Protesters At Mpls. Cub Foods Say They Were Assaulted

By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

— Protestors say their peaceful demonstration turned to chaos inside a Minneapolis grocery store Tuesday night, but Cub Foods calls it blatant trespassing on private property.

Protesters affiliated with the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, or the CTUL workers rights organization, say they went inside the Cub Foods near 26th and Lake Street last night as part of an ongoing campaign to fight the treatment of grocery store cleaning workers, who they say deserve better wages and working conditions. The group has been protesting this issue for the past year.

On Tuesday night, protesters say they say they started with a skit inside the store about how a store cleaning worker at a Bloomington Cub Foods was recently fired for speaking out about low wages.

A video taken by protesters shows a security guard approach a protestor, grab his arms, and tackle him to the ground. Protestors screamed for the security guard to back off, and the security responded by holding out handcuffs, threatening to arrest all the protestors present.

“All of the sudden the gentlemen turned his back to the security officer, it happened that fast,” said protestor and witness Todd Dahlstrom. “He grabbed him by the neck and drove him into the floor.”

The protestors say they tried to leave, but the store blocked the doors, and the security guard sprayed the crowd with pepper spray.

“The security sprayed me with pepper spray directly in my eye probably less than a foot away, and I went to the hospital to get my eyes flushed,” said protester Kristen Melby.

Cub Foods isn’t directly commenting on this incident because it is currently under investigation, according to spokesperson Mike Siemienas. Siemienas says the store protests are disruptive, and protestors are increasingly aggressive and endangering customers’ safety. He says on March 11, the company issued the CTUL group a formal trespass notice, banning protestors from stores.

“There is another face to this company, workers cleaning in their stories are making poverty wages and aren’t getting any benefits,” said former cleaning worker Mario Colloly.

Colloly says he cleaned a Bloomington Cub Foods for three years, but was let go for trying to organize workers. Cub Foods uses a third party to clean the stores, Carlson Building Maintenance, who says that is false.

Carlson spokesperson Amy Rotenberg says the workers have the right to “lawfully and fairly make public their views about their working conditions,” but in this case, “the termination of the employee was for lawful reasons related to his conduct on the job, and had nothing whatsoever to do with his protected activities or his association with CTUL.”

Carlson also says it pays competitive wages based on the market conditions.

“Our wages range from exceeding minimum wage to $20+ per hour, depending on experience, performance, responsibility and/or training. During these many months of economic downturn, when countless companies in all sorts of industries have laid off many thousands of employees, Carlson Building Maintenance has proudly maintained its workforce and provided its employees with steady full-time hours and stable employment,” said Rotenberg.

Protesters say the investigation should focus on an invisible workforce under attack.

“This an extension of what is going on in this country, workers’ rights are being attacked,” said Dahlstrom.

“The workers food on the shelves and keep our stores clean, they are family members, fathers, mothers and neighbor, and we all live better if everyone is treated well,” said protester Kristen Melby.

Cub Foods states that Minneapolis Police cited some protestors for trespassing. Minneapolis Police records show a store customer alleges the protestor that was tackled hit her on the mouth during the incident. She asked to press charges for assault. Store security told police that the tackled protestor was also trespassing.

On Thursday morning at 11 a.m., protesters will continue to voice their concerns at another demonstration at the Cub Foods Store at 5937 Nicollet Ave South in Minneapolis.

  • Ed

    Not the way I see it at all, Looks like the security guy was just doing his job.
    Cause they are so wrong on the trespassing laws they are probably wrong on the other issues too. Keep up the good work Mr. Security Man.

    • james T. Darius

      lol I agree, They had been warned.

    • Guest

      I completely agree…the security guard was just doing his job. They shouldn’t have been in the store protesting. Idiots.

      • TC

        This security guy was far to quick to initiate contact in this situation and could have escalated the problem for himself and Cub Foods! I’m not saying that I agree with the protest! This guy made verbal contact and in less then three minutes was in an altercation with a protester! I know this Cub Foods it is literally across the parking lot from the 3rd Precinct.
        Lets pretend that he easily cuffs the man and begins to remove him there are twenty other protesters that will begin to chat ect ect! The whole purpose of a protest is to bring attention to the cause which the security guy helped ten fold! Now Cub Foods is on thew news in a million homes. Along with the law suit that will be brought against Cub Foods by the protester and the settlement that Cub will likely pay out just to avoid paying thousands in lawyers fees because some lawyer is representing the protester pro-bono! Did I mention that the 3rd Precinct is across the street, really! There are times for force, this was not a situation that was handled well!
        I’m not just saying these things as a spectator I have a long back ground in security training and personal security.

    • Dave

      Security is a thug. Way to throw down the drama club geek, tough guy.

      • I am a dave hater

        he was doing his job when the protesters came in and and were acting like fools. I assume you are one of those dbag protesters!

      • pretzeldude

        Looks like a good arrest to me, Dave. Are you just jealous that you weren’t the security officer so you could be a “thug”.

    • jimmy

      Security guy proves fat and stupid is no way to go though life. He will be fired within the week. Want to bet he claims workmans comp.

  • touks

    I happen to know for a FACT that the employee, Mario, was fired because he was CAUGHT SLEEPING ON THE JOB on FOUR SEPERATE, NON BREAK (meaning he was supposed to be WORKING and was NOT on break) occasions. The reality is Mario believed he was above his job duties because he was affiliated with this so called “organization” CTUL. Workers have the RIGHT to organize. Workers DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to sleep ON THE CLOCK while their CO-WORKERS have to pick up HIS slack.

    • Losers

      Here at the CTUL we plan to change all that. No way should a person get fired after only four warnings. When the jobs were accepted at this pay rate we soon learned we will get something for nothing and all we need to do is make some noise, We are entitled!

      • djdenny07

        That slacker was lucky to get 4 warnings. I have been in positions where he would have been fired with cause and banned from the property on the FIRST incident. That’s right, I said the FIRST. I totally agree with the store and this group CTUL needs to be banned from all employment in the area.

      • hoover

        Excuse me? Are you serious? No person should get fired after ONLY four warnings? That’s the problem with these “workers” – they have no work ethic? I think four warnings is too many……and for the pay rate? Hmmm…there’s usually a direct correlation between educational level and pay rate – maybe you should take a look at yourself, and stop blaming it on someone/something else.

  • Jen

    Another group just to cause trouble. My brother and I both worked at Cub through high school and college. It is a decent place to work if you do your job. My opinion, you come into my place of business and harass me and my customers. I will give you a facefull of pepper spray too.

    • Dave

      The customers weren’t being harassed.

      • I also hate dave

        The protester acted like fools

      • Jeremy Pettit

        The police have a report from a customer saying the guy who was tackled hit her in the mouth and is pressing charges.

  • Ralph upset with all the dummies

    I somewhat am baffled by this part of it all – Cub retains a sub-contactor to do the cleaning. The issue is with the Carlson Bldg Maintainence company directly – and not Cub. I understand the manner to make a point is to go after the Big Dog, or Cub in this case, yet they were warned not to trespass. So score a point for Cub – they have no business doing this inside the store.
    That stated – this security guy is something else too. I am not sure but sense a lawsuit may be coming that way and despite the fact they may have been trespassing he may have gone way to far. Calling the police may have been the answer – not the knee jerk “I’m going to arrest you all” and the takedown.

    I suspect despite what the quote was from Carlson above pertaining to wages is mostly bullchit and the bulk of wages are minimum. They may have to dig real deep to find that single $20 an hour employee. lol
    Care to guess at what they charging Cub to provide the service? That’s be a story in itself. ;-)

    • Ralph upset with all the dummies

      Funny there MN Sportshell but I am a self employed General Contractor and know full well how to skin a cat and take it from my subs. Difference is I don’t need to.I’m comfortable and don’t feel slave labor needs to be part of todays world is all. You must huh?
      Any chance you part of Carlson Building Maintainence. ;-)

    • Ralph upset with all the dummies

      Got ya MNSportshell. Or should I say Carlson Building Maintainence co-owner.
      I was pretty sure it was you but now you flushed yourself out. Shame on you

      I am at work – watching on the tuner the flames near the Cub store on Nicollet. Hope you guys not part of the maintenance crews there. That would not be good.
      Have a great day Caesar ;-)

    • MNSportsHell

      Hey Ralph, I’m not even employed so there! Nice try. if you are so gainfully employed, go back to work! You are really a stupid dumb a**!

    • Hannah

      MN Sportshell…maybe you should get yourself a job!!!!

    • MNSportshell

      “Hannah” or should I say, “Ralph,” I’m retired. If you have nothing better to do than argue with a retired person on the internet all day, you must be a pretty unemployed general contractor yourself! :) Just sick of people like you passing judgement without any facts. This article presents one side of the story, like so many ‘CCO stories always do.

      • libra925

        Excuse me, MN Sportshell…”presents one side of the story”? How so? They intereviewed a representative from the protester’s group, they contacted both Cub Foods and Carlson Building Maintenance for their input – what else would you have them do? That, plus the video of the actual ‘take-down’ represents the situation pretty well, I’d say.

        Once upon a time, in my younger days, I was a bartender at a bar owned by a former Viking’s player. I worked with security personnal (bouncers) all the time and I know how tough that job is. When I see this video, I see a young man (security) approaching panic. He was out-numbered and surrounded by the time he pulled his pepper spray and the protesters were not leaving…they were getting more beligerant by the moment. What should he have done instead? It’s easy to second-guess someone after the fact, but I think the guys I worked with would have commanded them to leave, informed them they were violating a ‘no tresspass’ order and then called the local precinct for back-up. No one should have to put their life or health in jeopardy over something like this and it was an UGLY situation.

        Just one more thing…if Mario had a reasonable complaint or reason to object to his firing, why wasn’t he addressing it with his real employer? If he was a good worker, they could have simply re-assigned him to a different property.

      • Hannah

        MN Sportshell…you said you were “not employed”….meaning unemployed!! You never said “retired”!

        • Teddy

          Hannah – Are you dense? When you are retired you are not employed by anyone so “not employed” works in that case…

          • Bizarre folk around the board

            MN SportshellOfaBrain is on life support at Carlsom Building Maintainence as I type …. fretting the likely loss of the Cub contract in near future.
            That’s ok – he’s retired and this is but a hobby. lol

    • James

      If the Carlson in the name is part of the Carlson Companies conglomerate, they are a multi-billion dollar company and a “Big Dog” in their own right

      • FlippIn crazy adult kiddie types

        This group is a bunch of puny dogs and no ties to the Carson or Gage band of crooks.
        They wanna be’s tho …. lol

  • cam

    I see nothing wrong with their protesting but they were definitely trespassing based on a formal notice and the fact that they were inside the store, No one is going to guarantee a “working” wage that approaches $20 / hr in this economy. Regarding the customer that was apparently hit in the mouth by one of the protesters, sounds like an assault charge should also be filed, . “Protesters say the investigation should focus on an invisible workforce under attack” , no, it should focus on the unlawful trespass and assault, that is the crime here, .

  • Keith H

    SORRY Folks – I don’t by all of the protestors claims, check this out;

    A) Anyolne can protest……OUTSIDE!
    B) This is blaitnet Disorderly Conduct in that it is obviously “Disturbing the normal operations of the business” and it’s customers and or employees, and the Security Officer has every right to to make an arrest right there and on the spot.
    C) As far as tresspoassing, the Officer purly told them to leave FIRST. If there is an actual written, served, and filed Trespass Order – he doesnt even have to ask,.
    D) Look at teh video again, the news story above the video claims the protestor was “Instnatly grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground”. Thats not what I see. I see a uniformed Security Officer telling them to leave,a nd them REFUSING. AND, I see him physically grab the protestor and attempt to put the protestors hand behind his back – in textbook perfect fashion, a pre handcuffing move to get the protestor in position. I ALSO SEE the protestor attempt to pull away fromt he Officer, at which point I see him (As allowed by law) Step up his effforts to get teh protestor under control in order to inact an arrest.

    Take a good look – an objective look. There are two sides to every story, and a right and wrong way to protest. If they want to do a skit, let them start their own public access t.v. show, not SHOUT and YELLL in a Grocery Store.

    • Guest


    • Waldo oh Waldo

      I am pretty sure a security cop cannot use force unless he is physically threatened. That wasn’t the case.
      Call 911 pal – issue resolved. That requires a cool head and brain so guess that explains why it played out as it did.

      • Waldo Faldo

        You are “pretty sure” huh!?! You hear that everyone, some kid named Waldo is “pretty sure” the security guard used execesive force. Guess they better go arrest him now. Wow…your legal mind is amazing and i can only hope you go one to teach at Harvad Law. And your at your fist lecture…make sure you tell the students all the laws you are “pretty sure” about. What a JOKE!!!

      • Waldo oh Waldo knows better that dummy Faldo

        Pretty sure as in positive and yes, an attorney in the family stated that. Sorry chump – you lose again.

      • Waldo Faldo

        Yes Waldo…because “pretty sure” and “positive” mean the same thing. Wow…you are a Rhode’s scholar ontop of being a genius legal mind. Mr. “a lawyer in the family told me its so” LOL. Big things in your future kid…big things..LMAO.

  • C K

    Looking at the video, it’s clear that the use of force was far beyond inappropriate. The protester posed no threat, and the actions of the security officer were well beyond what would be considered necessary. If that level of force were necessary to deal with one protester, then he had no business taking him on with other equally “dangerous” protesters around. If the store manager or another store employee were to behave this way they would be in jail right now. If the protesters were that dangerous, that security guard would be in the hospital right now.

    The security guard grossly miss-evalutated the situation. If you want to deal with protesters, there are ways to do it that are more effective and don’t make headlines. Now everyone is paying attention to the issue that the protesters are concerned about, darn it.

    • Earl

      What happened before the video was shot? Were the protesters verbally abusive and threatening to people. You do not know. Only those there do know.

    • BN

      Absolutely right. The protesters posed no threat to the customers or anyone else. They were performing a skit and singing a song. Absolutely no excuse for the brutal attack by the security guard. Cub Foods needs to take responsibility for violently attacking people who question the working conditions in their store. They need to start paying a living wage to all their workers, including the contracted cleaners so protests aren’t necessary.

      • KM

        First, “a living wage” is very different from an entry level position wage. Entry level positions were never meant to provide for whole families. They were meant for young people who were just starting out in the work world, being stepping stones to higher level/paying jobs.

        Second, I would guess that the contracted with Carlson company decides what to pay their employees, not Cub. They are not employees of Cub itself. Also, when they took the position w/Carlson, they knew what their wage was and if they did not like it, they should not have taken the job.

        Lastly, MN is an “at-will” employer state, and unless they have a contract or discriminate under what is stated in law, they can fire a person for ANY reason. Right or wrong, they can fire you if they do not like the color of your hair!

  • tom h

    lmfao. see kids stay in school or you’ll be cleaning sh**ters for minimum ages.

  • Jeff

    This security Guy was clearly doing his job. I Support the under paid but protesters need to take a look at the laws before they go disrupting the community. Why cub? They have to clean other places. The real crime is cubs growing prices. That’s what the protest should have been about.

  • Concerned Union Guy

    As a proud trade unoin member, I am appalled by the audacity shown by CTUL in this demonstration. A peaceful demonstation should take place on public property, not inside a PRIVATE store. If Carlson Building Maintenance was the one who “wrongfully” fired Mr. Colloly, their office should be the location of the protests, not a Cub Foods store. Supervalu contracts the maintenance companies based on lowest bid and nothing else.
    Supervalu has always been good to unions. They are not Wal-Mart. I worked for Cub for almost two years as a teenager and felt I was paid a fair wage and was represented well by my union while working there. If CTUL has an issue with the contractors that Supervalu is inviting to bid, they need to bring it to corporate, not the middle of a grocery store.
    The AFL-Cio is not taking action on this, just CTUL. It seems to me that they are looking for a way to bring attention to themselves. I wish they would realize that negaitve press is the last thing unions need right now. Enough people already have mixed feelings about unions. Let’s keep up the good fight, but keep it in the ring.

    • Even More Concerned Union Guy

      The janitors that clean Cub Foods make minimum wage and have no benefits. While Cub may be good to their employees, they also have a responsibility to ensure that all workers in their stores are treated well.

      As a concerned union member, you should be supporting all workers who are organizing to improve their jobs – not joining the bosses side and attacking those workers. CTUL has repeatedly tried to meet with Cub, and Cub has refused to engage with them on these issues. When you are repeatedly ignored, the only way to respond is to speak louder.

      And by the way – lots of unions are supporting CTUL and have passed resolutions stating so.

      • Winston

        I worked management for Cub foods and the Union Contracts are the main reason it is hard to hold on to good employees! We only had so many slots for higher pay! The Unions are not helping in most situations!

      • Lehman

        Winston-I hope our next contract local 653 union is better. No wage increase, take a week vaction from us & cut our pension in half. Our union need to make it easier for us to vote on our next contract, one day to vote and its on a sunday.

      • DUH

        Even More Concerned Union Guy
        I guess it needs to be said again because a lot of you seem to have a very short term memory or are just idiots. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT EMPLOYEES OF CUB!!!! IT IS ALSO ILLEGAL TO PROTEST INSIDE OF THE STORE ESPECIALY WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE HAD A TRESPASS NOTICE!!!! I am beginning to believe that people do not read the stories, seems that you are just reading the posts from others and making your mind up there.

        Also it is not the company’s job to make sure that all of your bills are being met. If these people are not getting paid what they think they are worth it would be time to get another job (I understand how hard that is right now, but 1s again not the company’s fault). You keep stating that they should “be taken care of”. What are they, made men in the mafia?? All the company “needs to do” is pay them what they stated they would for the hours they work PERIOD (and 1s again because you probably forgot by now, they do not work for Cub). People need to stop crying about things they know nothing about because all you are doing is spreading ignorance and stupidity. When did America turn into a bunch of crying 9 year olds with skinned knees as it seems that complaining about things that have nothing to do with them, and never will have anything to do with them became a national past time?

    • ckh0d0a

      a non-union guy –> I like the advice, good perspective from
      “Concerned Union Guy.” I would support that approach, I do not support the incident at CUB. It’s all about playing on a level field, not creating a news story. Unions do have an important place in modern society.

  • Short Term Memory Loss

    Don’t these people have jobs, or something better to do. You’d think with all things currently going on that the good folks at ‘CCO could find something better to do with their time? 10K + dead in Japan and they are worried about what Cub does with someone who was disrupting others shopping at their store? They have a right to protest peacefully outside store property. What they don’t seem to get is that they don’t have the right to violate the rights of others to shop peacefully inside the store. If they don’t like Cub, fine, don’t shop there. Others have the right to shop there if they wish, regardless of what some nutjob fringe group thinks.
    I also don’t see a lawsuit here. They were trespassing on private property. Nuff Said.

  • Sam I am

    And of course CCO has to have the headlines misleading.

  • J.D.

    Let me start by saying I have no clue about the “Mario” issue and care only that the security guards actions reflect badly on all security guards.

    I have worked in Security for many years in Minneapolis, I can tell you that, legally, Security guard was wrong. They should charge him with aggravated assault. He had no right to put his hands on that guy. Use of physical force must be in self defense or defense of patrons. The guy who was attacked by the security guard was not a threat to anyone and had not raised a hand against anyone. In this instance the proper tactic would have been to back off and call the police. Then after stating to the people that they were trespassing, the police have the right to remove them from the premises for disturbing the peace.

    • J.D. definitly not a JD

      Unless you are ABA certified Lawyer…nobody cares what some lifer- security guard has to say about the legality of this situation. I understand it is your opinion, but maybe try to represent it as that. As far as the legality of the security guards actions, you are so ignorant to the law it isnt funny….stick to patroling parking lots and leave the issue of “legality” to the lawyers!!

      • TC

        If your going to make a statement on someones ignorance then at least say why! You throw an insult to this guy and say nothing about why he is wrong? Next you can be the guy that corrects spelling here!

    • TC

      Correct! You can verbally Trespass a person or persons and they are then breaking the law! They also are not allowed to form protest inside yet untill they are trespassed they have not broke the law! They are disturbing other customers and talking or yelling but untill warned legally they have done no crime!

    • James

      Considering there is a police report from a patron that she was assaulted, there is room for action in defense of patrons.

  • keith

    Great for Cub to stand up for irrational idiots. Follow the stores policy of no protests on their property. You are trespassing and not leaving when told to do so. Cub Contracts the cleaning services and has the right to let someone go for any reason. It is very possible the janitor was not following Cubs procedures or doing a sub-standard job.

  • Bob

    Go to a store to cause problems what do you expect to happen? Security was doing their JOB! It is about time someone does. You go into a private business and cause trouble what did they really expect to happen WHY do you think they brought the camera. So sick of idoits like this

  • TCB55016

    Ya gots to stay on public properlty people – you can’t protest INSIDE a privately owned business – that’s like entering someone’s home uninvited and protesting inside there

  • Lehman

    Why don’t they protest at Carlson Co., they are one that fired him, not Cub Foods.

  • TW

    Sorry bro, they pulled you in like a fish on that one. Now they have something to squeeze. When you laid hands on and tried to play the commando you lost situational control. Call the local LEO’s and let them do the trespass drill. The protestors were disturbing the peace and if they were asked to leave already then trespassing. Watch the lawsuit that this will go to. Luigi or Mario will have pain and PTSD issues that need ‘treatment’. It might lead to a disability that keeps him from working. Dang, should of kept your calm and followed the program.

    • no buns hurt I hope

      Yep — as dumb as they acted the idiot who thugged him was just as dumb and if there’s an injury …. looky out.
      Another case of likely a lower paid sub contractor doing a job that maybe a few more dollars may have provided a slightly higher type/class of person doing the job.
      just thinking aloud here now is all …………………………..

    • ELM

      Yep, Luigi and Mario just did more damage to the cause that good.
      This is the way Unions operate? Go into a store, set up an underpaid security guard and put his job on the line. Great job CTUL, got yourself some attention now don’t ya.

  • shirley

    Most business’s sub contract out the cleaning part of their business, They should be protesting who they are contracted with, and out side the premises. Get your self educated on these things before you plunge into any kind of demonstration.There’s to many protesting and not trying to sit down and negotiate, if they haven’t taken that away from you yet.

  • Bill

    “Protesters affiliated with the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha…….” Next time these trespassers show up CUB should call in the ICE to sort them out (1-866-DHS-2ICE)

    • malchata

      These aren’t terrorists, Bill. Local law enforcement would do just fine.

      • Ted

        Who said anything about terrorists? ICE would just check their papers to make sure they belong here in the first place

  • Ugly Bill

    chit no Bill – then that bag of groceries you have in yer hand would cost you $2 more due to higher wages and as yer stuffing yer fat ugly yapper you’d be spitting stuff out as you complained about that too

  • joey33

    this stinks of racketerring .. On The Waterfront Tackets…!
    I don’t like to see this.. the time of organizing unions is over..
    third world tackets…! this has to stop…!

  • Naomi

    Some years back, my friend Harry saw a security guard at this Cub FIRE HIS GUN at a fleeing shoplifter. Now, I realize that shoplifters are breaking the law, but when you ACTUALLY OPEN FIRE IN A PARKING LOT you put everyone present — not just the lawbreakers — in danger.

    Harry contacted the police and made a report about what happened. I contacted Sandy Colvin Roy. Nothing ever came of it, from what we heard. But this is one of the many reasons that I shop at the Rainbow (which has security guards, but doesn’t feel the need to have them carry firearms).

    • Jennifer

      That wasn’t a security guard. They are not allowed to have weapons other than a billy club. That had to be an off duty police officer or someone like that. Again, learn the facts before talking. You just fuel the anger that is building.

  • malchata

    All I see in this video is an over-the-hill out-of-shape little man going on a power trip. Someone please show me what warranted that kind of reaction. That security guard probably works the Cub foods because he couldn’t hack it in the police academy.

  • C.S.

    Let me clear this up for you. I have worked in the Security Field for over twenty years. The public is often confused & wrong when it comes to what a Security Officer can & can’t do. In the State of Minnesota, after being verbally warned a Security Officer can physically remove you from the property, and or arrest you for Trespassing. Reasonable force can be used in order to do this. Some Security companies have a hands off policy – and this is where people get confused. There are many companies with different policies. I have arrested people who believed that they had the right to do whatever, but were simply breaking the law.

    • great way to get sued

      Yep – but jumping you as you turn away is assualt.
      BINGO – we have a loser. lol

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