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Kroger, Albertsons Merger Signals Layoff Fears

Specialty Food Association

Thousands of workers at Kroger and Albertsons fear they may be laid off if the two companies merge, reports The Guardian.

The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing the retailers' proposed merger. At a recent hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger, and Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons indicated they will not lay off store workers. Mullen said that the combined company planned to place 100 to 350 stores in a spin-off company to protect workers.

“A win for our customers, a win for our associates, and a win for the communities,” said McMullen.

A spokesperson for Kroger backed up these promises, saying: “Kroger will not close any stores, distribution centers, or manufacturing facilities as a result of this merger, including stores that may need to be divested to obtain regulatory approval.”

Despite this promise, local unions representing over 100,000 Albertsons and Kroger workers oppose the merger because of its potential to negatively affect competition, prices, and jobs. The 2015 merger between Albertsons and Safeway showed similar promises made by executives only to be later broken, according to the report.

Naomi Oligario, a worker at Safeway during the Albertsons merger, said that her store was divested and spun off under Haggen grocery stores. This meant that employees couldn’t transfer to a different store without losing seniority and benefits and that the prices increased significantly after the merger.

“It was a fiasco, and heart-wrenching, because some people with more seniority than myself didn’t get their jobs back,” said Oligario. “It’s nerve-racking to think that we might have to go through that whole fiasco again.” Full Story

Related: McMullen, Sankaran Vow to Keep Prices Low, Protect Jobs; Albertsons: Washington AG Denied Request for Injunction

Image: Kroger