Press conference to discuss significant reasons for concern about deal
LANDOVER, Md. (September 19, 2023) – A coalition of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) local unions representing more than 100,000 Kroger and Albertsons workers in fourteen states and the District of Columbia will hold a virtual press conference on Wednesday regarding the companies’ plan to divest hundreds of stores to C&S Grocers in an effort to appease antitrust regulators:
|What:||Press conference to air our concerns and to expose the problems with the recent announcement by Kroger and Albertsons, and their announced agreement to sell hundreds of stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers if a merger were approved.|
|When:||11:00am EST/8:00am PST, Wednesday, September 20, 2023|
|Who:||President Faye Guenther of UFCW 3000 (WA) and President Kim Cordova of UFCW 7 (CO & WY).
Monique Hightower, grocery store worker at Albertsons in South Los Angeles, CA and member leader at UFCW 770.
John Marshall, CFA, Capital Strategies Director with UFCW 3000 and UFCW 324.
Phillip Contee, grocery store worker and 40-year veteran at Safeway in Oxon Hill, Maryland, and member-leader at UFCW 400.
At the press event, the unions will showcase personal stories of workers who have reason to be concerned, along with expert research concerning the history and current challenges of C&S Wholesale Grocers and its financial backers.
Following the announcement of the divestiture deal, the coalition released the following statement on September 8:
“We have raised alarms about the proposed Kroger/Albertsons merger from the very beginning— from threats of store closures, higher prices and reduced competition, the harm to unionized workers’ ability to negotiate strong contracts, as well as the negative ripple effects lower union density would have on workers throughout the grocery industry. News of a deal with C&S to buy hundreds of stores as part of the proposed merger in no way reduces those alarms. Indeed in many respects this announcement raises the level of concern for our members.
“Workers and shoppers have been seriously harmed by large-scale sell-offs in the past, orchestrated as part of a potential merger. It was only in 2015 private equity-owned Haggen acquired a large number of stores as part of a divestiture scheme to appease antitrust regulators in the Albertsons/Safeway merger. It took less than a year for that company to go bankrupt and for Albertsons to pick up the very same stores it had divested for a fraction of what Haggen paid only months before, thus undoing the remedy to resolve antitrust concerns. Moreover, thousands of workers lost their jobs and were forced to start over. Today’s announcement of a nearly identical divestiture scheme is a troubling sign that history could repeat itself.”
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 is led by President Mark Federici and represents 35,000 members working in the grocery, retail, health care, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. www.ufcw400.org