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Union Endorses Kroger, Albertsons Merger

Kroger Storefront

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 said Monday that it supports the proposed $246 billion merger between Kroger and Albertsons, reports local news source Oregon Live. The union represents thousands of grocery workers at Kroger subsidiary Fred Meyer and Albertsons subsidiary Safeway stores.

The endorsement comes soon after union leaders met with representatives of C&S Wholesale Grocers. If the transaction between Kroger and Albertsons goes through, C&S has agreed to purchase at least 413 stores from both retail giants. 

“After meeting with C&S on the divestitures of stores as part of the Kroger/Albertsons merger, we were pleased to find not only that they understood and liked the grocery business, but also recognized the importance of quality employees to their ongoing success,” said Dan Clay, president of UFCW Local 555. “Employees of Kroger and C&S will be better off than employees of other potential buyers whose actions never seem to match the image they project publicly. In a refreshing change of pace, C&S seems poised to deliver a much-needed fresh perspective for employees and customers alike.”

UFCW Local 555’s endorsement diverges from the national UFCW organizations’ opposition to the merger. 

The proposed transaction between the retail giants has incited much opposition from industry stakeholders and policymakers. Another local union, UFCW Local 3000 has also vocally opposed the merger since October 2022, according to the report, and, earlier this month, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser also filed a lawsuit blocking the proposed merger in the state.

UFCW Local 555 decided that Cerberus Capital Management, a firm that bought Albertsons for $350 million in 2006, plans to sell its stores and that that the divestiture to C&S would lead to the best outcome for employees, noted the report. 

“Cerberus no longer wants to own Albertsons. It’s foolish to think that stopping this merger means everything will stay the same,” said Ann Poff, VP of UFCW Local 555, in a statement. “If they don’t sell to Kroger, it will be someone else... This merger, combined with a significant divestiture to C&S, represents a good outcome for workers caught in the wake of a private equity company that wants to sell Albertsons.” 

A spokesperson from Albertsons provided SFA News Daily with the following statement regarding the endorsement. 

“We are grateful that UFCW 555 recognizes the many benefits our proposed merger will bring to workers and customers alike. Since day one, both companies have committed to not closing any stores or laying off frontline workers as a result of the merger. We are also pleased to have found a divestiture buyer in C&S with the experience and resources to operate divested stores and ensure associates continue to receive industry-leading benefits and bargained-for wages.” Full Story