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The lawmakers say that divestiture strategies often fail to maintain competitive conditions.

U.S. lawmakers send letter to FTC protesting Kroger, Albertsons merger

The group said it believes the merger would be bad for consumers, workers, and the grocery industry at large

Six U.S. lawmakers have sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission protesting the proposed $24.6 billion Kroger, Albertsons merger, reports Reuters.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) along with representatives Summer Lee (D-Pa.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) all signed the letter, which claims the divestiture of 413 Kroger and Albertsons stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers does not do enough to calm the negative impacts the merger would have on consumers, workers, and the grocery industry as a whole.

The group says that divestiture strategies often fail to maintain competitive conditions, because the companies involved have an incentive to ensure that the businesses they spin off do not end up succeeding.

Kroger had not responded to a request for comment in time for publication. 

In November, Kroger informed the FTC that it had met all the antitrust law requirements, including the sale of stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers. The agency is now next in line to act. The FTC has until Dec. 15 to decide on the merger.

News of the FTC letter comes after several local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) unions have come out in support of a recent report that finds the Kroger, Albertsons deal will negatively impact the labor market if it receives government approval.

The report, according to several UFCW locals, finds that union workers have better bargaining power with two smaller industry players, vs one larger grocery conglomerate. 

Furthermore, the unions say, the research indicates that this kind of consolidation has negative effects on both earnings and work hours as well as job quality for workers.



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