Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UFCW Union Flyers On His Door Knob Cause Heat in 'The Pragmatic Chef's' Mental Kitchen; Others Wondering About the Negative Campaign As Well

Blogger the 'pragmatic chef' arrived home last night to find a couple of the United Food and Commercial Workers union's (UFCW) "Fresh & Easy Facts" and "Don't Be Fooled By Fresh & Easy" anti-Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market flyers on his front door knob.

As we've reported in Fresh & Easy Buzz, the UFCW is doing flyer drops in neighborhoods like 'the pragmatic chef's' where Tesco is getting ready to open new Fresh & Easy small-format combination basic grocery and fresh foods markets. Tesco is doing lots of new store openings at present--it's opening about 30 new Fresh & Easy grocery stores in the next 90 days.

Although he says he is a longtime union man, the pragmatic chef says finding the UFCW's flyers--and then reading them--created a little heat in his mental kitchen, leading him to rant about it today in his blog.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA is a non-union food and grocery retailing chain, unlike Tesco in the United Kingdom where the company is based, which is union- affiliated.

The major chain grocers--Safeway Stores (Vons banner), Kroger Co. (Ralphs supermarkets), SuperValu (Albertsons), Bashas and others, including most regional chains and larger independent grocers--in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona where Tesco's Fresh & Easy grocery stores are located are UFCW-represented union shops.

Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Wal-Mart, Costco and a few others in these three states are, like Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, non-union shops.

The UFCW is conducting a grass roots and media campaign both in the Western U.S. states of California, Nevada and Arizona, as well as in Tesco's home country the United Kingdom where the international retailer has its headquarters, which is designed to get Tesco executives to meet with union leaders to discuss unionizing Fresh & Easy store-level employees.

Thus far Tesco has declined to meet with the UFCW union's leaders, saying its position is that the UFCW is free to organize the Fresh & Easy store workers within the guidelines of U.S. labor laws, adding that it is up to the store employees if they choose to join the union.

We've suggested recently in a couple of stories in the blog (see links at bottom) that the UFCW might want to take a page from Barack Obama (who has pledged to run a positive campaign for President against Republican John McCain), the candidate it's supporting for U.S. President, and rather than using the negative tactics it is in the anti-Tesco Fresh & Easy Flyers, focus more on the positive features, of which there are many, that Fresh & Easy store-level workers could gain from affiliating with the UFCW.

We suggested this because we have heard from Fresh & Easy store employers, consumers and others that they, like the Pragmatic Chef, find the negative UFCW campaign repugnant.

In fact, we've even talked to executives of two unionized supermarket chains who told Fresh & Easy Buzz they don't like the negative food safety focus of the UFCW flyers, telling us they fear that message could potentially cause erosion on the part of some consumers in the retail supermarket industry's food safety record and abilities.

Both industry executives, who work for supermarket chains that have UFCW unionized store-level workers, also told us they didn't think the union's flyer campaign was very successful to date in getting Tesco to the table for a meeting, which is the UFCW's stated goal of its overall campaign.

Related Posts in Fresh & Easy Buzz:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. Apparently I'm not the only one a bit put off by this.