A coalition of seven local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) unions on Thursday released a joint statement raising concerns about Kroger and Albertsons’ plan to divest more than 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers as part of its proposed merger.
UFCW presidents of local unions 5, 7, 324, 400, 770, 1564 and 3000 said in the statement that this latest move only “raises the level of concern” its members already have about the pending Kroger-Albertsons mega-merger.
The statement likened the C&S plan to private equity-owned Haggen's 2015 acquisition of a large number of stores to appease antitrust regulators in the Albertsons-Safeway merger, calling the proposed deal a "nearly identical divestiture scheme.”
“It took less than a year for that company [Haggen] 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,” according to the UFCW local presidents. They added that, because of this, thousands of workers lost their jobs, and they fear history would repeat itself with Kroger and Albertsons divesting stores to C&S.
These seven UFCW Locals represent more than 100,000 Kroger and Albertsons employees across 14 states and Washington, D.C., according to the press release.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a separate statement on Friday that the UFCW would continue monitoring the proposed deal’s impact as well as continue protecting its union members.
“[W]e seek a transparent relationship with the companies throughout this process and continue to remain open to any dialogue or document review with either Kroger or C&S Wholesale Grocers,” Perrone said.