UFCW Local Unions Disappointed by Washington State Supreme Court Ruling to Allow Albertsons Massive $4 Billion Dividend as Part of Proposed Mega Merger
Jointly Issued Press Statement by :UFCW 3000 of WA & Northern IDUFCW 400 of MD, DC, VA, WV, KY, OH, & TN UFCW 7 of CO & WY UFCW 770 of Southern CA UFCW 5 of Northern CA UFCW 324 of Orange County, CA and Southern Los Angeles County UFCW 367 of South Puget Sound, WA Teamsters 38 of Snohomish Country, WA
“We are disappointed to see a ruling that favors a small number of ultra-wealthy shareholders over the many thousands of essential workers and millions of Americans who will be left to suffer the consequences of the outright financial looting of Albertsons. Despite this setback that allows the $4 billion dividend to be issued, the delay allowed the United States Senate to scrutinize the dividend payment as well as the mega-merger, and alerted the public to the disastrous consequences if the merger were to go through. We applaud Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his staff for their efforts fighting to protect our members and the communities we serve. Our unions will not stop working to protect our members and our communities from the harmful impacts of this proposed mega-merger of Kroger and Albertsons. It is now even more important that the Federal Trade Commission take swift and decisive action to block the acquisition.”
From the first day the proposed merger was announced, UFCW Local 5, UFCW Local 7, UFCW Local 324, UFCW Local 367, UFCW Local 400, UFCW Local 770, UFCW Local 1442, UFCW Local 3000 and Teamsters 38 have been taking action to intervene and stop this devastating deal.
On November 1st, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to stop the payout and a temporary restraining order was granted through December 9th.
On Tuesday November 29 the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing to scrutinize the proposed Kroger/Albertsons mega merger, along with an alarming, up to $4 billion “special dividend” announced by Albertsons in connection with the merger agreement. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the agency to intervene, more than two dozen antitrust experts and local unions representing Albertsons’ workers decried the payout as “nothing less than an out-and-out looting of the company” and a brazen attempt to destabilize the company ahead of regulatory review of the merger.
On December 9th, the Superior Court Judge in King County Washington ruled against issuing a preliminary injunction, but delayed the effect of the decision until December 19th to allow time for an appeal by the WA AG to be considered by the State Supreme Court. On December 16th, the WA State Supreme Court issued a ruling granting the State AG’s Injunctive Relief and extended the Temporary Restraining Order on the Albertsons dividend until further order of the court.
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