UFCW 8-Golden State Union volunteers have established an informational picket line at a newly-opened Modesto, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy store, saying that the Tesco-owned chain is siphoning money from U.S.-based stores in the area, including Save Mart, Raley’s, Safeway, Food Maxx, Maxx Value, Cost Less and Rite Aid.
The Union continues its informational picket lines in front of Fresh & Easy stores in Bakersfield, Reedley, Fresno and other locations.
“California has enough challenges without a foreign company coming in with substandard jobs that threaten good, local companies that bring value and good jobs to our community,” said Roseville, Calif.-based UFCW 8 President Jacques Loveall. “It’s bad enough good American jobs are exported overseas at an alarming rate, now this global giant from the UK is coming to our country thinking they can take advantage of American workers on our own turf. We will not allow that to happen.”
Loveall noted that Fresh & Easy’s incursion into the United States poses a threat to Union market share and to the living standards of Union members’ wages and benefits.
However, Fresh & Easy spokesperson Brendan Wonnacott told Progressive Grocer that its employees are non-union by their choice, not the grocer's. "The decision of joining a union is one only our employees can make – it is their democratic right – and up to this point, our employees have not chosen to join a union," he said.
“Our members are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that workers at Fresh & Easy have the same access to the good pay, health care, pension and job security enjoyed by Union members,” Loveall said.