FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2023
Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, email@example.com
Yvonne Wheeler, Joni Ricks-Oddie and Southern California Grocery Store Workers Heat Up Fight to “Stop the Merger” During Busy Fourth of July Weekend
Stop the Merger Coalition Take Action Across US to Oppose Kroger-Albertsons Mega-merger
Long Beach, CA – On Friday June 30, 2023, local grocery store workers, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Yvonne Wheeler, Long Beach City Councilmember Joni Ricks-Oddie, and community members came together in front of Ralphs in Long Beach, and called on customers to “Stop the Merger” and protect our communities from the disastrous effects of the proposed mega-merger of grocery giants Kroger (Ralphs and Food 4 Less in Southern California) and Albertsons (who also owns Vons and Pavilions in Southern California). Advocates used the busy Fourth of July Weekend to heat up their fight to stop the mega-merger that will be bad for workers, customers and communities throughout Southern California and the nation.
“It’s no secret that this merger is bad for everyone and we’ve been vocally opposed to it from day one,” said Andrea Zinder, president, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324. “Driving out competition in the grocery industry will result in the closure of many neighborhood grocery stores, raise food prices for already struggling consumers, increase food deserts in our state, and eliminate thousands of good union jobs with fair pay and benefits. But we’re going to fight with everything we have to ‘Stop the Merger’ and protect communities.”
If the $24.6 billion mega-merger is approved, it will drive out competition, close neighborhood grocery stores, raise food prices for already struggling consumers, increase food deserts in our state, and put thousands of workers out of jobs. Over 650 stores across the country are expected to be divested to meet the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) requirements for the merger, and many of those stores will be in Southern California.
“I’m proud to stand together with customers and UFCW members in opposition to the Kroger and Albertsons mega-merger,” said Yvonne Wheeler, president, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “This deal is a disaster for everyone – we can’t let Kroger and Albertsons’ corporate greed put thousands of California’s workers out of a job and leave customers holding a bill with higher prices. Organized labor has the workers’ backs and will do all we can to protect them and our communities.”
The event in Long Beach is part of a week of action where grocery workers from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local unions – representing over 100,000 Kroger and Albertsons workers in eleven states and the District of Columbia – will hold actions in front of grocery stores to connect with customers about the impacts of the proposed mega-merger and urge them to contact the FTC to “Stop the Merger.”
“It’s clear that Ralphs doesn’t have the best interests of the customers, the community and it’s workers in mind as it goes through this merger process,” said Teri Mondor, a groery worker Ralphs in Long Beach. “This merger is not a good thing for people – it creates lots of hardship on the community and we must do all we can to stop it.”
Since Kroger and Albertsons announced their proposed $24.6 billion mega-merger in October 2022, grocery workers, elected officials, consumer groups and other stakeholders have raised the alarm about the negative impact of the merger on workers, shoppers, and food suppliers such as farmers and ranchers.
Last week, Kroger shareholders demanded the grocery store giant report unadjusted median and adjusted pay gaps across race and gender. The proposal passed with 51% investor support in large part because of research that local UFCW unions conducted with the Economic Roundtable that found that many of the company’s workers were homeless or experiencing food insecurity.
A national coalition of over 100 organizations has united to “Stop the Merger.” Visit our website at: https://www.nogrocerymerger.com/.
The proposed merger is awaiting a decision from the Federal Trade Commission.
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