US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has this week written to Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy ahead of the grocer’s AGM today, urging him to start discussions with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

Obama’s letter makes reference to Tesco’s reputation in the UK as a partner to unions and urges the grocer to uphold that practice at its US Fresh & Easy chain.

He states: “Ensuring that workers are able to exercise their right to organise and work in safe, rewarding environments was an important element of my campaign.

“I again urge you to reconsider your policy of non-engagement in the United States and advise your executives at Fresh & Easy to meet with the UFCW and other community groups at the earliest opportunity.”

It follows the launch of UFCW’s “Two Faces of Tesco” campaign earlier this month. The union came to the UK to attack Tesco’s lack of engagement with unions in the US. Earlier, Obama had written to Tesco’s US boss Tim Mason. The UFCW also intends to attend today’s AGM.

Tesco has previously said: “The UFCW do not reflect the views of Fresh & Easy staff, who are overwhelmingly in favour of the pay and benefits they receive.”