Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council applauded the Assembly Judiciary Committee 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.
“California residents and workers deserve to know just how proposed mergers in the grocery and drug-retail industries will affect their lives – from the supply of healthy food and medicine to its affordability and worker’s jobs,” said Mark Ramos, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 1428. “AB 853 will ensure mergers and acquisitions don’t have an outsized effect on experienced grocery retail workers with knowledge of food safety and licensed pharmacy staff entrusted with supplying safe and accurate medications and clinical services to ailing Californians. We’re proud to sponsor this common-sense approach that simply requires companies to notify the Attorney General and provide an impact analysis so California’s decision makers can make an informed decision on the impact of mergers on our state.”
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 and requiring recall and rehiring rights. 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 one-week severance pay for every year of service. Without severance pay protections, the loss of this many jobs in one region will have ripple effects through the local economy and further burden an already tattered social safety net.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2023
Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]