The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has officially announced that delegates representing 1.3 million of its members unanimously voted to officially oppose mergers, including the proposed $24.6 billion deal between Kroger and Albertsons. The vote was made on the grounds that such mergers “pose a threat to essential workers, their families, and the communities they serve.”
“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 Marc Perrone, President of UFCW in a statement. “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.”
In April, Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen co-published an op-ed in the Cincinnati Inquirer that sought to address “three myths” around the merger:
- Concern that stores will close was countered by noting Kroger has committed to zero store closures as a result of the merger and will make store investments following the deal’s completion;
- The worry that jobs or the union will be hurt was addressed by stating that no frontline workers will be laid off as a result of the merger; and
- The idea that prices will increase as a result of the merger, or that the combined entity will squeeze farmers to offer lower prices, was called “simply not accurate.”
However, the merger is still facing critics within the government. In November 2022, attorneys general for four states filed lawsuits to block a $4 billion payout to Albertsons shareholders until the merger has been reviewed by antitrust authorities. Additionally, high-ranking U.S. legislators said that the combined chains could create a monopoly that would harm consumers and urged the FTC to oppose the deal.