Tesco Quiet on Alliance Meeting

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Tesco Quiet on Alliance Meeting

LOS ANGELES -- Tesco, a British retailing giant that will soon open a chain of small grocery stores called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood markets in the Western U.S., declined to say last week whether it would meet with a coalition that wants Tesco's previously announced commitments in writing, the Los Angeles Times reported.

CSNews Online reported last week that the coalition, dubbed the Alliance for Healthy and Responsible Grocery Stores, a group of 25 community organizations based in Southern California, wants to negotiate with Tesco a legally binding agreement to its claims of paying Southern California workers above the minimum wage, offering health benefits, and giving employees the right the unionize and being environmentally responsible when it launches its chain this fall.

Fresh & Easy said in a statement last week it would be "a good steward of the environment" and a "great place to work," the LA Times reported. The statement also said that when stores open, "everyone will be able to decide whether we lived up to our promises," the report stated. The company declined to comment further.

The coalition of labor, community, faith and environmental groups remained hopeful Tesco would eventually agree to a meeting, the report stated.

"The best way for them to be a good neighbor is by following the lead of other large developers and corporations by negotiating" an agreement, Elliott Petty, retail policy analyst for coalition member Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, a British animal welfare group called Turtlesco is attempting to expand a Tesco boycott to the new Fresh & Easy chain in the U.S., claiming that the decapitation method of live turtles for food at Tesco stores in China can cause suffering in the decapitated brain of the animal, the newspaper reported.

In addition, the Humane Society of the United States is urging Tesco to sell eggs only from farms that raise cage-free hens, the Times reported.