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UFCW 8 Union activists set up informational picket lines at two newly-opened Fresh & Easy stores in Sacramento today, and plan to hold additional picket lines at three other Fresh & Easy Outlets scheduled to open tomorrow in Elk Grove, Lincoln, and Folsom.
The Union continues its informational picket lines in front of Fresh & Easy stores in several other locations in Northern and Central California.
UFCW 8 president Jacques Loveall said the union is asking the public not to shop at Fresh & Easy and to shop instead at stores such as Bel Air, Corti Bros., Food Maxx, Foods Co, Food Source, Raley’s, Rite Aid, Safeway and Save Mart. “Tesco, which is Fresh & Easy’s parent company in the United Kingdom, is siphoning money out of our community,” he said. “We are responding to that provocation. 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.”
Brendan Wonnacott, Fresh & Easy spokesman pointed that the grocer does in fact provide good jobs to the community. “We’re thrilled to have created more than 150 jobs with good pay and healthcare benefits in Sacramento – and certainly the hundreds of Sacramentans who applied for open positions agree that Fresh & Easy is a great place to work,” he told Progressive Grocer.“We’ve had a great response from all our new neighbors and we look forward to opening more stores and introducing ourselves to even more neighborhoods.”
“It’s bad enough good American jobs are exported overseas at an alarming rate,” he added. “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.
“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.