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VIDEO: Pro-Union Protests at Fresh & Easy

Protesters at the Eagle Rock Boulevard supermarket demand unionization and a safer work environment for employees.

On the death anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, employees, members and supporters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union held a rally in the afternoon in support of union rights and safer working conditions for employees at the on Eagle Rock Boulevard.

"Martin Luther King Jr. died today 43 years ago in support of workers and for racial and economic equality," said UFCW Field Campaign Coordinator Jeff Ferro. "These workers also want fair treatment—they want a seat at the table, the right to dispute and discuss and not be in fear of harassment and terminations."

Ferro said that Fresh & Easy workers at the Eagle Rock Boulevard store gathered 16 signatures for a petition to unionize on March 26, 2010 but that the British-owned supermarket chain Tesco, which owns Fresh & Easy, defeated the workers' efforts by replacing the store's manager with an employee who brought in six additional workers evidently loyal to the management and increasing the total number of employees from 28 to 34. The 16 signatures ceased to represent a majority, Ferro said, and the workers wishing to unionize did not press their demands until today.

"We want to inform the community about what this company stands for," Ferro added. "It talks about values but these are the values they hold—there's a big gap between the things they say they do and what they actually do."

Brendon Wonnacott, a spokesman for Fresh & Easy in the company's El Segundo headquarters, said that "unionization is completely up to the employees [and] retaliation is against the law." Asked if Fresh & Easy had ever fired an employee for demanding unionization, Wonnacott said he could not comment on individual instances. But he added that "the company has upheld the law" regarding any employee's desire to unionize—effectively implying that no workers had been fired for asserting their right to join a labor union.

Anna Salas April 06, 2011 at 11:48 PM
I agree! F&E is, as you say, "just darn convenient." lol No one wants you to stop shopping there completely and forever, because that would be just counter productive in the long run. Once in a while though, when it's not absolutely necessary that you go in that instance, maybe you could go somewhere else. It just lets F&E know that the community is not only aware of what is going on, but that they support the employees. It may not seem like it makes a difference, but it really does add when enough people walk away. Any ways, just think about it :D
Kael M April 07, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Good point! And it seems to me, by shopping at F&E, we are helping to keep its employees working. Let the employees decide the union question of course, but it seems to me the store is working just fine as things now stand - except for picketers blocking the doors.
Anna Salas April 07, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Once again, no one wants you to stop shopping there completely and forever, because that would be just counter productive in the long run. Once in a while though, when it's not absolutely necessary that you go in that instance, maybe you could go somewhere else. It just lets F&E know that the community is not only aware of what is going on, but that they support the employees. Obviously it's not working if the employees are asking for a union. While the union of course went seeking out the employees in hopes they could get them to go union, the employees still had to say yes. The employees had to want the help of the union. I'm sure the union is still trying to get Trader Joe's and other non union grocery stores to go union, but we haven't heard of anything going further or the employees wanting one. So what's different at this F&E hmm? They must want the unions help for a reason!
Philipp Sander April 08, 2011 at 01:31 AM
We've corrected the typos in the video.
Susan R May 03, 2012 at 03:07 PM
These people are not from Fresh and Easy. They are not even from the Northeast neighborhood.

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