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Workers Would Pay The Price For This Mega Grocery Merger

As a former grocery store cashier, the recent news that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing to block a merger between supermarket giants Kroger and Albertsons prompted a sigh of relief. My experience cashiering and bagging taught me just how it is critical to stop further concentration in the industry when just five companies already control over 60% of U.S. grocery sales. First proposed in 2022, the $24.6 billion deal would be the largest supermarket merger in history and would create the second largest grocery company in the United States (after Walmart).

Kroger-Albertsons Merger Means Layoffs, Higher Food Prices

A proposed deal between two of the biggest grocery chains in the U.S. — Kroger and Albertsons — has many thousands of workers worried about losing their jobs. It also raises the possibility of more food deserts and worsening food prices. Grocery prices have already risen by nearly 12% in the latest capitalist inflation crisis. If the deal goes through, the new corporation will control 20% of the U.S. grocery market with 5,000 stores in the 48 contiguous states. Corporate mergers are always followed by a period of consolidation of assets. That means closures of some stores and layoffs. Both Kroger and Albertsons have a history of disregarding workers’ rights and turning their backs on the communities that have brought them billions of dollars.

When Unions Back Corporate Mergers, Workers Lose

There has always been a fundamental tension in the organized labor world between people who think that unions exist to counteract the self-serving tendencies of businesses, and people who think that unions should copy the self-serving tendencies of businesses. The gap between the view that unions should change capitalism and the view that unions should just help working people get their piece of capitalism is not just fodder for theoretical arguments — billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and the entire direction of the post-neoliberalism economy could ride on it. We’re seeing that tension painfully demonstrated right now, at the grocery store. Last week, Kroger announced its plan to merge with Albertsons. That merger would create a $25 billion grocery giant that would control more than 15% of the American grocery market, second only to Walmart.

UFCW Decries Kroger-Albertsons Merger

Seattle, Washington - Unions representing grocery store workers — UFCW 7 in Colorado, UFCW 324 and UFCW 770 in California, UFCW 367 in Tacoma, UFCW 3000 across Washington state, and Teamsters 38 in Everett — issued the following joint statement on Thursday decrying the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons. (In Washington state, Kroger operates as Fred Meyer and QFC, and Albertsons also operates as Safeway.) Today it was reported that grocery store giant Kroger could announce a deal this week to buy rival grocery store company Albertsons, resulting in a potential merger that would significantly harm local grocery store industries, essential grocery store workers, and customers across the western US from Southern California to the Canadian border to Colorado.

How Kroger Is Using DC Spin Doctors To Fight Their Unionized Workers

In recent weeks, Kroger has faced a rash of negative news reports about its employees’ working and living conditions, drawn new scrutiny from lawmakers, and seen thousands of workers go on strike in Colorado — all as the company lobbies on union rights legislation, and bankrolls corporate trade associations trying to kill it. Now amid the potential for congressional hearings and a federal crackdown, the grocery giant did what so many other corporate behemoths do when they’re feeling the heat: pay big bucks to run counter programming claiming it offers “great pay and great benefits” in a Beltway tip sheet read by Washington insiders. The DC tip sheet industry, which includes daily email newsletters like Politico Playbook, Axios AM, and Punchbowl News, may seem obscure, but it serves a special purpose in media.

Kroger Employees In Colorado Have Had Enough

On Wednesday, January 12, more than eight thousand workers at around eighty King Soopers and City Market grocery stores in Colorado went on strike after declining what the stores’ parent company, Kroger, called its “last, best, and final offer” on Tuesday. The workers, who are members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, had voted nearly unanimously to authorize the strike earlier this month. The King Soopers contract expired on January 8, and workers say the company — which is owned by Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain and fourth largest private employer — has been dragging its feet at the bargaining table. Distance remains between the two sides on issues of pay, health care benefits, and worker safety — in the sense of COVID precautions as well as protections from customers

More Than 8,000 Kroger Grocery Workers Strike In Colorado

On the heels of a new report showing significant financial insecurity, including homelessness, among workers at Kroger grocery stores, more than 8,000 of the chain's employees in Colorado went on strike Wednesday to demand fair wages and better healthcare benefits. Amid a recent wave of successful strikes at companies including John Deere and Kellogg's, the work stoppage is taking place at nearly 80 King Sooper grocery stores, which are owned by the Kroger Company, across the Denver metropolitan area. According to the Colorado Sun, 10 additional stores in Colorado Springs could also go on strike in the coming weeks. The workers' union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, rejected the company's "best and final offer" on Tuesday, saying the $84 billion company did not offer enough for employees to afford basic necessities.
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