UFCW hails FTC move to block Kroger-Albertsons merger

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 27, 2024) — The Federal Trade Commission on Monday sued to block the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history — Kroger Company’s $24.6 billion acquisition of the Albertsons Companies, Inc. — alleging that the deal is anticompetitive. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Oregon, requests a temporary injunction blocking the merger and was joined by the attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.2 million essential workers in grocery, meatpacking, food processing, and other essential industries across North America, hailed the FTC’s move

“The FTC’s decision reflects clear concerns over the impact such a megamerger could have on workers, food prices, and millions of customers,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “As our delegates made clear last year at our International Convention, the UFCW stands — and will continue to stand — in opposition to any merger that would negatively impact our hundreds of thousands of hard-working members who work at Kroger and Albertsons.”

In Washington state, Kroger operates as Fred Meyer and QFC, and Albertsons also operates as Safeway. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson previously filed a lawsuit to block the proposed grocery merger, asserting that it would severely limit shopping options for consumers and eliminate vital competition that keeps grocery prices low.

“This is a victory for both UFCW 367 members and consumers alike,” said UFCW 367 President Michael Hines. “Since the proposed mega-merger between Kroger and Albertsons was announced in late 2022, UFCW Local 367 has stood strong against the potential consequences, fighting tirelessly for the protection of our members.”

Notably, in addition to saying the proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger would be bad for consumers and competition, the FTC also said it would be bad for grocery workers, threatening their ability to win higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions.

With both Kroger and Albertsons announcing they intend to challenge the FTC in court, the UFCW plans to continue advocating for grocery workers and their customers.

“As this legal process now moves ahead, our focus will remain the same,” Perrone said. “The UFCW will continue to advocate for a stable and long-term solution that is in the best interest of our members and the customers and communities they serve. That means that any company who is looking to purchase stores must first and foremost honor our collective bargaining agreements and be committed to protecting these essential jobs now and in the years ahead.”

He added:

“Regardless of the next legal steps, we must never forget that Kroger and Albertsons are successful because of these incredibly dedicated workers, and no proposed merger should be allowed to endanger their jobs or their livelihoods.”

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