UFCW 5, UFCW 7, UFCW 324, UFCW 367, UFCW 400, UFCW 770, UFCW 3000
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 26, 2023) – Today, essential workers from Albertsons-owned grocery stores reacted to the company’s first quarter fiscal results, as well as the outlandish payouts planned for corporate executives in the event the company’s proposed merger with Kroger were approved. The workers are members of local unions within the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the largest union of grocery store and food production workers in the country.
“My work, and my coworkers’ work, is helping Albertsons to produce billions of extra dollars. We are hardworking people, we respect our jobs, and we just ask that respect back in the form of equal pay for equal service,” says Gerald Gates, an employee at an Albertsons-owned Pavilions in the LA area and UFCW 770 member. “During the pandemic food prices went up and consumers continued shopping at the stores. After all that money is out there, one wonders why they entertain a megamerger of $25 billion and potentially divest hundreds of stores across the country, especially in Southern California?”
Gerald’s concerns were echoed by another Albertsons worker in the Pacific Northwest. “We have been working hard for years to serve our customers and scrape by enough for ourselves and our families. Our work, and our customers’ purchases are what have made the profits of these companies. It should be illegal for these CEOs who already make tens of millions of dollars each year, to stuff their pockets full of millions more through this proposed merger,” stated Yasmin Ashur, an Albertsons grocery store worker and UFCW 3000 Member in Washington State.
“I’ve worked hard day in and day out to make Albertsons a place customers want to come back to and shop for their special occasions,” said Judy Wood, a cake decorator at Albertsons in Orange, CA and member of UFCW 324. “That customer loyalty is what has made Albertsons’ billions in dollars of profits over the years. When I hear that those profits will be used to pad shareholders’ and executives’ pockets if they leave the company, it’s disheartening. Those profits should be going to fixing stores, lowering prices and paying workers more so they’re not homeless and food insecure.”
Similar concerns were made by Christina Duran, a General Merchandise Head Clerk at a Safeway store in Sunnyvale, CA and member of UFCW 5. “I’m worried about stores closing and people losing their jobs. The impact of the merger could leave people jobless who have invested years into the company.” Safeway was bought by Albertsons in 2015.
More than nine months ago, Kroger and Albertsons announced their proposed plans to merge and create the largest traditional grocery store chain in America. Immediately, calls of concerns were aired across the US from labor, community, legal, food justice and many other organizations.
Today, Albertsons released their financial results for the 1st quarter of their fiscal year. In a statement released by Albertsons in advance of the results, the company stated, “In light of the Company’s entry into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with The Kroger Co., Albertsons Companies will not be hosting a conference call or providing financial guidance in conjunction with its first quarter of fiscal year 2023 results.”
Earlier in the month, financial news reported the massive amount of money that the CEOs of both companies would make if the merger were approved. And just this past weekend, the two CEOs of both companies did an exclusive interview with The Denver Post in response to the growing criticism facing the proposed deal.
Also, it is important to note that earlier in the year, Albertsons made a $4 billion payment to wealthy shareholders that had been proposed as a part of the proposed merger deal last fall. That fleecing of the company’s assets was strongly opposed by many local unions, several states attorneys general and was challenged by many US Senators in a hearing in November.