Monday, December 20, 2010
UFCW Union Launches New 'Fix Fresh & Easy' Neighborhood Market Website and Social Media-Based Campaign
The UFCW union has created the video above, which it calls: "An xtranormal conversation at Fresh & Easy headquarters," as part of its new Fix Fresh & Easy social media-based campaign. The brief video features the Robot Theater robots, the voices of which you may have heard before.
[Related Story - December 20, 2010: Glassell Park-Los Angeles Store Workers Catalysts of New UFCW Campaign to Unionize Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market]
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union today launched a new website and social media-based campaign called Fix Fresh & Easy as part of its efforts to unionize store workers at Tesco's 155 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market food and grocery stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.
The new Fix Fresh & Easy website, along with a companion Facebook page, Twitter.com feed and YouTube channel, will focus on what the union believes to be wrong with how Fresh & Easy is operated, along with suggesting ways in which it thinks those problems can be "fixed."
We first learned about the new website and companion social media sites this morning, when we discovered the Fix Fresh & Easy Twitter feed had followed our Fresh & Easy Buzz feed on Twitter.com. (You can view our Twitter.com feed here on the blog, at the top, right.)
This morning the UFCW also posted a December 15, 2010 story from Fresh & Easy Buzz - Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's California WIC Voucher Expansion Program Stalled - as the second entry on its new Fix Fresh & Easy website, along with posting the piece on the two social media sites, with a caption saying: "Here's an easy way to fix Fresh & Easy. Accept WIC at all your locations - it's good for our community and brings in more revenue to your stores."
The premise of "Fix Fresh & Easy" is to use the various online sites to suggest ways in which Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market can be "fixed," with the central way obviously being to unionize the chain, since that's the UFCW's goal and overall objective.
The "fix or improve fresh & easy" angle is a new strategy for the UFCW in its efforts to unionize the grocer's store-level employees in California, Nevada and Arizona.
For example, in 2007 (the first Fresh & Easy stores opened in November 2007) the UFCW, which represents about 1.3 million unionized grocery store and related industry workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, launched a website called fresh & easy facts, in which it asks consumers to pledge not to shop at Tesco's Fresh & Easy stores because they are non-union, along with offering information as to why people shouldn't shop at the stores.
The website still exists (click here) but hasn't been updated since June 2008. For example, that's when the last article about Tesco was posted in the website's news section. Other sections of the site haven't been updated for a similar amount of time.
The tact of the new Fix Fresh & Easy website however is much different.
We're told the UFCW plans to use the site to point out various problems with how Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, which continues to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually, is operated, and to offer ways those problems can be "fixed." Readers of Fresh & Easy Buzz, which is and independent publication and isn't affiliated with the UFCW, Tesco or any other business or organization, know we have and continue to point out those many problems, often offering prescriptions for improvement, in our analysis and commentary-focused pieces in the blog.
The Fix Fresh & Easy website posting of our story about Fresh & Easy's stalled expansion of its acceptance of WIC Vouchers beyond one store, with the UFCW's caption that if the grocer accepted WIC at all its stores it not only would not only be good for the communities it serves but also good for added sales, is suggestive of the "fix" focus the UFCW plans to take with the new tactic and online sites.
If so, and we're told it is the case, it signals a change in strategy for the grocery clerks' union, in that it has decided to combine what could be a more positive, consultative approach with the use of the more traditional organizing and public relations tactics it's thus far used in its attempt to unionize Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.
The new Fix Fresh & Easy website and companion social media sites come at a key time for both the UFCW and Tesco's Fresh & Easy. Tesco is preparing to launch its U.S. fresh food and grocery chain into Northern California early next year. The region, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area, has among the strongest and most aggressive food and grocery retailing locals in the United States.
These Northern California UFCW locals, as we've reported and discussed in the blog before, are planning a major campaign and organizing drive targeted at non-union Fresh & Easy beginning in early 2011, about a month or so before the first batch of 12 stores are set to open. Ten of the 12 stores are in the San Francisco Bay Area, as we've previously reported. The other two units are in nearby Vacaville and Modesto.
We've also recently learned the UFCW plans to ramp-up its overall campaign and store-level organizing efforts to unionize Fresh & Easy's store-level workers, starting early next year.
The main focus of the new efforts will be in California. But increased efforts will also take place in the metro Las Vegas, Nevada and metro Phoenix, Arizona regions, where the other Fresh & Easy markets are located. There are currently 106 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores in California (Southern California and the Bakersfield and Fresno regions in the Central Valley), 28 units in metro Phoenix and 21 markets in metro Las Vegas, for a total of 155 stores.
According to sources, the new Fix Fresh & Easy website and companion social media sites will be an integral part of the UFCW's store-level employee organizational efforts and overall campaign to unionize Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in 2011.
Click here, here and here for a selection of our past stories about the UFCW union and its campaign to unionize store-level employees at Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Note: Click on the green "older posts" and "newer posts" links at the bottom of each page for additional posts.