Protesters assaulted by Cub Foods security guard [VIDEO]

Categories: Protest News
Talk too loud in Cub Foods, you're asking for a headlock.
A group peacefully protesting what they call union-busting activities by Cub Foods' cleaning service got way more than they bargained for Tuesday night, including face-fulls of pepper spray.

A security guard at the Cub Foods on Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue put one of the protesters in a headlock and threw him to the ground. The protesters say he and the store manager then blocked the exits to the store while the guard pepper-sprayed the protesters in the face.

One protester, Kristen Melby, was sent to the hospital.

"They assaulted several people, blocked us from leaving, and sprayed protesters and clients alike with pepper spray," Melby said. "Some clients later told us that their two children had been sprayed."

Some background: Employees of Carlson Building Maintenance, which has the contract to clean many Cub Foods locations, have been organizing for better wages and benefits -- as well as for a sexual-harassment free workplace

-- for several months.

Cub Foods says it's not their problem, since it doesn't employ the workers.

If you're curious to know what happens when radical thespians go up against big guys with neck tattoos, here's the video:

"These contractors are not Cub associates," says Rebekah Fawcett, a Cub spokesperson. "We encourage these individuals to reach out to their employer directly if they have specific concerns they believe need to be addressed."

That's what the workers, organized by the group Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, have been trying to do. They've also filed charges with the U.S. Labor Department alleging unpaid wages and worker intimidation.

But on March 2, Carlson fired Mario Colloly Torres, a leader of the cleaners' movement. Two days later, the cleaners filed a pair of complaints with the National Labor Relations Board claiming Colloly Torres was fired because of his organizing work.

Carlson denies the charges, and says Colloly Torres was fired for his work performance.

"Besides Mario, we're not really sure how many of our workers are actually involved in these protests," says Amy Rotenberg, a spokesperson for Carlson. "We did a survey in the fall, and 80 percent of our workers said Carlson was either a 'good' or a 'very good' place to work."

Which brings up to the incident on Tuesday, when supporters of the cleaning workers tried to stage a little protest-theater in the East Lake Cub Foods. The high-volume agitprop in the canned-goods aisle didn't go over well with the security guard on duty.

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Security Guards Houston

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Theft results from the fact that quite often there are no cashiers attending their station when people go to pay. I would imagine there is a limit to how long a person is willing to wait for the cashier to return to his or her station, or a limit on how many times they are willing to put up with it. Many of Bon Appetit’s problems stem from the fact that they are running the campus eateries on a skeleton crew – even during peak hours.

Bon Appetit often states that the large number of eateries on campus presents difficulty for staffing. Capitalism proposes that the solution be to bring in a second or third food service company to reduce this “burden” placed on one corporation. However, Bon Appetit will not allow this.


They were told to leave, it is private property. They did not leave and thereby can be arrested for trespassing since they were TOLD TO LEAVE. In the State of MN, a private citizen (ie Security) can use reasonable force to effect an arrest. Justified and the protesters should be charged with trespassing....


Whos is going to be there for you!


I am the person in the light tan coat walking away in this video. I was a regular shopper in the store standing next to the man recording this on his Iphone. I asked him " what the hell is this all about" and then asked him, "is this a set up? .. he nodded yes.. thats when my gut said to walk away from this.. in another part of this video, you see me walk with my back to the scene of this crime. I went around the corner and watched what happened. I just want to say, of what happened is that is not the place to express concerns over working conditions. I did some of the residual pepper spray on me and in my mouth. IN THE STORE IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THIS.. I stand behind CUB!


Sounded like something broke when he landed on the guy.

I hope they get sued, the protestors didn't even kick the guards face in or anything ELSE they should have done.

I think it would have been a clear enough case of defending a friend from brutal assault by a stranger if the camera man had sunk a knee through the guards face. He should have, IMO.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

While this is a problem for Cub, it's very important to remember that Cub employees are unionized, unlike most other grocery store employees in the metro area.

It's also important to remember that while many security guards are decent folks, most of the headcases who can't get hired on as cops end up taking work as security guards. I hope Carlson gets the crap sued out of them for this. Security guards have absolutely no legal right to physically attack private citizens.


The strugle is going on!Keep up with the fight for your rights for  decent pay and working conditions.  The corporate America has no soul.

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