The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced last week that delegates, representing its 1.3 million members, unanimously voted to officially oppose mergers, including The Kroger Co. and Albertsons Cos. merger, that pose a threat to essential workers, their families and the communities they serve.
According to UFCW, it is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents professionals and their families in health care, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Members serve communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
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“For months, the UFCW has called for transparency, engaged independent experts, and assessed the publicly available information on this proposed merger to determine the widespread impact it will have on our members and the communities they serve,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.
He continued: “At our 9th Regular Convention, hundreds of UFCW delegates representing our entire union from around the country came together to unanimously declare: mergers pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of our members and we must act to confront them.
“Given the lack of transparency, and the impact a merger between two of the largest supermarket companies could have on essential workers – and the communities and customers they serve – the UFCW stands united in its opposition to the proposed Kroger and Albertsons merger.”
The proposed merger was first revealed in 2022 and has faced opposition from food industry leaders and legal entities.
In a jointly penned opinion letter to the editors of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati.com in late April, Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen sought to dispel misconceptions around the proposed merger, among them rumors about job losses. The leaders reiterated the point that “no frontline workers will be laid off as a result of the merger.”
The CEOs also sought to allay concerns about store closings, noting that Kroger has committed to “zero store closures” as a result of the business move. "As a part of the regulatory process, we anticipate divesting − or selling − some stores. These stores will remain open. We are working closely with the regulators and are committed to finding reliable operators for the divested stores,” Sankaran and McMullen wrote.
Both companies hope the merger process will be completed by 2024.
Serving 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores in 34 states. The company is No. 9 on The PG 100. PG also named both companies to its Retailers of the Century list.