GROCERY MERGER: Rep. Jayapal announces in West Seattle that she’s seeking federal investigation

West Seattle-residing U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal called a media briefing in Junction Plaza Park this afternoon to announce she’s asking the Federal Trade Commission to “closely investigate” the proposed Albertsons-Kroger grocery merger. The briefing location was chosen for being in line of sight to QFC (Kroger-owned) and Safeway (Albertsons-owned) stores.

(In background, Capco Plaza, anchored by QFC, and Jefferson Square, anchored by Safeway)

Among those joining her was Faye Guenther, head of the regional union that represents grocery workers, UFCW 3000. Here’s our video the entire 18-minute announcement and Q/A:

Rep. Jayapal opened by saying she and three other U.S. House members had moments earlier sent a letter to the chair of the FTC to request the investigation – you can see the letter here. She believes the $24.6 billion dollar merger would have “widespread and dangerous implications across the country,” affecting everything from prices to jobs. This is of extra interest to her as she’s been serving as vice chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. Guenther said she hopes to testify at a hearing early next month in Washington, D.C.; “We want workers to be heard.” One of those workers, Naomi Oligario, said she’s a Safeway employee with 37 years of experience but almost lost her job in the Safeway-Albertsons merger. She said her biggest fear is that if the merger goes through, “they’re going to close stores again.” Shaun Scott of the Statewide Anti-Poverty Network said that would exacerbate food insecurity.

As Jayapal noted at one point, the merger also is under scrutiny from Washington state government; Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued to stop a “special dividend” from going out to Albertsons stockholders pre-merger.

16 Replies to "GROCERY MERGER: Rep. Jayapal announces in West Seattle that she's seeking federal investigation"

  • Frustrating November 21, 2022 (6:31 pm)

    Go after ticketmaster too!!!

    • The King November 21, 2022 (8:13 pm)

      There are plenty of “government services” that enjoy monopolization by way of its own law making. Try to cancel your garbage. 

      • Brian November 22, 2022 (7:56 am)

        I mean I guess I could try to cancel my garbage service but that seems like a solution in search of a problem. 

      • BlairJ November 22, 2022 (10:59 am)

        The primary difference being that we get to vote for the people controlling government monopolies.

    • Wendell November 21, 2022 (8:59 pm)

      …and Adobe

      • sam-c November 22, 2022 (2:01 pm)

        heck, if we are going in that direction, add Autodesk to the list, please.

  • Scarlett November 21, 2022 (8:13 pm)

    From my sources, this deal is good as done.   The FTC is a toothless watchdog and has been forever.  I wouldn’t expect anything different from the current incarnation of the FTC, including Lina Khan, FTC chairperson who was nominated by Biden.   Kroger-Albertson’s dodgy plan to appease the FTC is to spin off hundreds of stores into a separate company.   By the way, I’ll give credit to Jayapal for breaking out the term “monosopy,” to clarify a question from a reporter.  Most excellent.    

  • Mj November 21, 2022 (9:48 pm)

    Thank you for your link to the definition of Monopsony, very helpful.

  • alkiannie November 22, 2022 (8:56 am)

    Love you, Pramila!

    • Scarlett November 22, 2022 (10:07 am)

      I confess, I might have mis-judged Jayapal somewhat in the past.  I appreciate the stand she is taking here, as well as wanting to scrutinize our military spending in Ukraine, for which she took a lot of hystrionic heat from both Democrats and Republicans.  Give credit where credit is due.  

      • Bill November 22, 2022 (12:32 pm)

        My thoughts exactly.

  • derek November 22, 2022 (10:17 am)

    We have one of the best reps in congress. I will vote for Jayapal for life.

  • Mad Matt November 22, 2022 (11:39 am)

    I don’t usually agree with Pramilla, but I appreciate her efforts on this, which would have negative effects on many, many people in West Seattle

    • Bill November 22, 2022 (12:43 pm)

      Again I agree.  As both of the previous mergers in my experience have had negative effects – beyond the obvious monopoly reality.  Choices begin disappearing and every few months you notice less ‘national brand’ choices and more and more store brands appear – most of which are good enough – but are not what you went to the store for!  The actual separate QFC, Safeway and Albertson stores at least had elements of actual competition while it is mostly just border line sham competition now.  

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