Topics: News, Press

CA Legislature Ensures Transparency Around True Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions

AB 853 Sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for Signature

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council applauded the California Senate for passing AB 853 (Maienschein), which will require grocery or drug-retail companies to notify the California Attorney General 180 days in advance of finalizing a proposed merger or acquisition and submit an impact analysis report on the impact of the merger or acquisition on communities, such as food deserts, food prices, and access to food, and workers, such as supply of experienced grocery workers, unemployment, wages and benefits and more. The bill now moves to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.

“Southern California grocery workers know just how bad mergers and acquisitions can be, from job loss, closures of stores to the leaving of whole shopping centers vacant,” said Andrea Zinder, president, UFCW Local 324. “All of California’s residents deserve to know just how proposed mergers in the grocery and drug-retail industries will affect their lives. AB 853 is a simple, common-sense approach requiring companies to notify the Attorney General and provide an impact analysis. This way California’s decision-makers can make an informed decision on the impact of mergers on our state. UFCW members are proud to support this bill and urge the governor to sign it into law.” 

In October 2022, it was announced that Kroger and Albertsons would pursue a $24.6 billion mega-merger, joining together two of the largest grocery chains in the United States. Nationally, these two grocery chains employ over 700,000 workers and operate over 50 manufacturing facilities and 5,000 retail stores. California has more of these two grocery chains than any other state in the country, with Kroger operating approximately 233 stores under the Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Foods Co banners and Albertsons operating approximately 579 grocery stores under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Pavilions banners.

AB 853 (Maienschein) is part of UFCW’s legislative package to mitigate the effects of mergers and acquisitions on the retail and grocery industries. The other two bills in the package are: 

  • AB 647 (Holden), Protect Grocery Workers Job Act, will protect grocery and pharmacy workers’ jobs by strengthening California’s existing Statewide Grocery Worker Retention Law. This will ensure that skilled and trained workers can continue to provide our communities with access to safe food and lessen the economic impact to our social safety net. 
  • SB 725 (Smallwood-Cuevas), Grocery Worker Safety Net, which requires a grocery establishment who conducts layoffs as a result of a merger or acquisition to provide workers with a one-week displaced grocery worker allowance for every year of service. Without protections, the loss of this many jobs will have ripple effects through the local economy and further burden an already tattered social safety net.

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September 6, 2023

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]