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Kroger-Albertsons Tie-Up Faces New Union Lobbying

 |  October 23, 2022

Thousands of unionized retail workers from the US Mid-Atlantic to the West Coast are lobbying regulators and lawmakers as part of a broader effort to nix the $25 billion merger between supermarket operators Kroger and Albertsons.

“There is no way that this is going to be good for workers,” said Maggie Breshears, who works in the pickup department at a Kroger-owned Fred Meyer in Seattle. “I wish they would put their money toward trying to lower prices and increase wages, rather than gobbling up the competition.”

Related: $25B Kroger-Albertsons Merger Deal Could Close 400 Stores

Four local chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International told Reuters they are assessing their options for lobbying and coordinated action against the deal, including potential strikes. The chapters together represent about 100,000 Kroger and Albertsons workers including those in Colorado, Wyoming, California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee.

The opposition comes amid strong support for hourly workers in America from Democratic lawmakers and the White House, giving labor greater influence on the outcome of the deal.

Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said she had “some preliminary conversations” with Colorado’s Attorney General about possible store closures and job losses following the deal. She is also placing calls to elected officials in Washington and is planning to hire an antitrust attorney to represent the workers.

In an interview with Reuters last Friday, Kroger chief executive Rodney McMullen said the combined entity, with over 5,000 stores and $47 billion in sales, could better compete head-to-head with “larger, non-union” grocers – a reference to players such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp, both of which also sell groceries.