Proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger is a ‘rotten deal’ for California, argues AG Rob Bonta

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The Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General Rob Bonta are looking to stymie a proposed merger of two grocery giants: Kroger and Albertsons.

The FTC, Bonta and a coalition of both Democratic and Republican attorneys general on Monday announced that they are suing to block the merger from happening.

The federal lawsuit, filed in Oregon, alleges that allowing the two corporations to merge would result in a litany of problems, which Bonta touched on during a Monday morning press conference.

He said that this proposed merger is “bad for workers, it’s bad for agricultural producers, it’s bad for consumers in California and across the country.”

“If these two behemoths of the retail grocery industry combine forces, it’s very likely that we will see reduced competition, a serious blow to unions looking to negotiate better working conditions, higher food prices across the country at a time when so many families are already struggling just to get food on the table and where every dollar counts,” he said.

According to Bonta, Kroger and Albertsons have nearly 800 stores, employing nearly 48,000 workers, between them.

Allowing the merger to happen, Bonta said, would drive grocery prices up and quality down. And as the merger would lead some stores to close, it would potentially lead to the creation of “food deserts” — communities without a local grocery store — across the state.

“At it’s core, this merger is a rotten deal for California,” Bonta said.

Joining Bonta and the FTC in condemning the proposed merger were UFCW local unions representing some 100,000 grocery store employees across more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia.

“All our work has kept the voice of grocery store workers front and center in this story, while exposing the potentially harmful effects of this proposed merger to our communities, our stores, and our jobs. Through this powerful show of collective strength, the FTC and California Attorney General clearly heard our message,” said UFCW leaders John Frahm, Andrea Zinder and Kathy Finn in a statement.

Not so, argues representatives from the aforementioned retailers.

“Albertsons Cos. merging with Kroger will expand competition, lower prices, increase associate wages, protect union jobs, and enhance customers’ shopping experience,” Albertsons said in a statement to The Bee.

Albertsons and Kroger both warned that if the FTC is able to block the proposed merger, it would only help larger (non-unionized) retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart and Costco grow stronger, “by allowing them to continue increasing their growing dominance of the grocery industry.”

“In contrast, Albertsons Cos.’ merger with Kroger will ensure our neighborhood supermarkets can better compete with these mega retailers, all while benefitting our customers, associates, and communities,” Albertsons said in the statement.

As for Kroger, that company says that it has been reducing prices every year since 2003, “resulting in $5 billion invested to lower prices and a 5% reduction in gross margin over this period.”

Those reductions would be applied to the merger companies, Kroger said.

“Kroger has a proven track record of lowering prices so more customers benefit from fresh, affordable food, and our proposed merger with Albertsons will mean even lower prices and more choices for America’s consumers,” the company said.

Both companies said they look forward to fighting this lawsuit in court.


Most Californians believe it is important to buy weed from a licensed cannabis retailer, according to a new survey released by FM3 Research and commissioned by the Department of Cannabis Control.

The poll surveyed more than 1,000 California adults and found that 72% believe that consumers have a responsibility to buy from a licensed retailer.

The survey is part of the DCC’s Real California Cannabis campaign, which aims to connect marijuana buyers with licensed retailers in their area and to educate the public on the difference between licensed and unlicensed retailers.

The poll showed that most Californians are confused about whether retail cannabis is allowed where they live, with 85% of those surveyed in areas where it is not legal to sell incorrectly believing it was.

“Education and enforcement are two of the key pillars that support a well-regulated cannabis market,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott in a statement. “The Real California Cannabis campaign will provide cannabis consumers with information that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their cannabis purchases.”

The poll also found that 56% of those surveyed said that they have used cannabis. People were split on whether it was easy to identify whether a retailer was legitimate, with 44% saying it was easy to do so and 42% saying it was difficult.


“Whether we’re in a budget deficit or in a $100 billion budget surplus, what’s right is right, and righting wrongs is always right.”

- Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, speaking in favor of ACR 135, which recognizes and takes responsibility for harms and atrocities committed against Black people throughout the state’s history. The resolution passed 57-0.

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