Events are moving quickly concerning the proposed Albertsons-Kroger merger.  As we know, both ACME and Kings are owned and operated by Albertsons in the Local 464A jurisdiction.  There are presently no Kroger Banners within our area so we would not be negatively impacted by the Federal Trade Commission, which could force store closings or divestitures if two or more stores of the merging entities are in close proximity.  Here in the Northeast, for the most part, the proposed merger might well mean the expansion of store operations by Union operators.  We must, however, remember that we are a multi-national Union and we will take into consideration the total effect on all our hardworking UFCW members.

Tomorrow in Chicago a meeting of all UFCW Local Unions will be held who have Collective Bargaining Agreements from either Albertsons, Kroger, or both.  UFCW Local 464A will be traveling to Chicago to represent our membership.  We anticipate that representatives from both Albertsons and Kroger will be in attendance to make a presentation and to field any questions and concerns.  I am sure all participating Local Unions will be determined to protect members’ rights, job security and future growth.

On a different note, Albertsons Companies are seeking to payout a $4 billion dividend to stockholders prior to the merger.  This planned dividend is meeting strong opposition with the Unions demanding that the money would be better served by applying it to company improvements and lower prices.  The Washington, DC Attorney General has asked the company to delay the dividend payment and further indicated that his office may seek injunctive relief if Albertsons proceeds.  He has also stated that the entire merger will be reviewed by his office.

As we stated in a prior posting, this is not a done deal, and we may see changes prior to any possible consummation.

We will continue to keep the membership informed as important events occur.