Topics: News, Press

With Governor’s Signature, California Now Requires Companies to be Transparent About True Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council applauded Governor Gavin Newsom for signing AB 853 (Maienschein) into law. AB 853 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. 

“Grocery workers have seen the effects of mergers and acquisitions in the industry – from job loss to centers of their communities going dark,” said Todd Walters, president, UFCW Local 135. “AB 853 will give California’s decision makers the information needed to know just how proposed mergers in the grocery and drug-retail industries will affect their lives and can make an informed decision on the impact of mergers on our state. UFCW members were proud to sponsor this bill.” 

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. Governor Newsom also signed AB 647 today, Sunday, October 8, 2023.
  • 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. This bill is still awaiting action from the Governor.

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October 8, 2023

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]