US union has Barack Obama aid in Tesco fighthttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/05/cntesco105.xml
An American union has stepped up its campaign against Tesco, releasing a dossier that includes the backing of Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.
Fresh & Easy's chief executive
The 1.3m-member United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) yesterday launched a 46-page report, The Two Faces of Tesco, to highlight alleged differences in pay, conditions and union recognition between Tesco employees in the UK and the US.
In his letter, Mr Obama said: "Supermarkets play a critical role in America's cities and neighbourhoods as employers, purchasers of local products and anchors for economic development. A recent Occidental College report raises concerns about Tesco's record in these areas."
His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, also wrote to Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco's chief executive, last November, pointing out that Tesco's non-recognition of union members in the US was all the stranger given its close relationship with USDAW, the UK shopworkers' union.
Tesco rebuffed the tone and content of the report. "The UFCW do not reflect the views of Fresh & Easy staff who are overwhelmingly in favour of the pay and benefits they receive," Tesco said in a statement. It added: "We strongly believe that union membership is a matter of individual choice and if our people want to join a union then they can and will. "