The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union on Monday released a statement opposing Aldi’s plan to acquire Winn-Dixie.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in the statement that the proposed merger poses a threat to both consumers and essential grocery workers and urged the Federal Trade Commission to review the merger “critically” with the negative impacts on these two groups in mind.
“With food inflation at record levels, consumers need more choices, not fewer, and more food access, not less,” Perrone said. The UFCW International, which represents more than 1.3 million workers in grocery, meatpacking, retail and other industries across North America, also said the merger would lead to grocery workers losing their jobs.
Perrone also warned that larger grocery chain mergers threaten competition and lead to lower wages, higher food prices and the creation of more food deserts in rural and underserved areas.
The union president also noted that the UFCW is against “any merger that further consolidates the grocery industry,” including the proposed Kroger-Albertsons deal.
Aldi, which last week announced plans to buy the Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket chains from Southeastern Grocers, said the proposed acquisition would help augment its plans to open 120 new locations in the U.S. this year as the discounter continues its fast-paced expansion efforts.
“[T]his unique opportunity will evolve our business to benefit our customers, associates and neighbors throughout the Southeast,” Southeastern Grocers President and CEO Anthony Hucker said in the merger announcement.
The merger announcement did not address if any store closures or job layoffs could occur.
The grocery companies said they expect the merger, which is subject to regulatory approval, to close in the first half of 2024.
Kroger and Albertsons executives, meanwhile, have defended the proposed merger of their companies in the face of broad opposition, telling Congress members last year that they do not intend to lay off any frontline associates in connection with the proposed combination, will continue to invest in pricing and would not be able to exert undue influence on suppliers’ pricing.
Earlier this month, Kroger pledged to expand employee resources, like its continuing education reimbursement and financial coaching programs, if its Albertsons purchase gets green-lighted by regulators.