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Some Coloradans voice concern over proposed Kroger and Albertsons merger

Coloradans voice concern over proposed Kroger and Albertsons merger
Coloradans voice concern over proposed Kroger and Albertsons merger 03:13

For Carol McMillian, hearing about a grocery store merger brings back a sense of dread.

"When I was an employee at Safeway, the companies decided to merge," said McMillian.

In 2014 and 2015 Albertsons and Safeway merged. She was working at a store on Gartrell Road and Aurora Parkway at the time and she says it wasn't long before the new company shut down her store and many others.

Carol McMillian CBS

"We lost a lot of stores and we lost a lot of good union jobs during that merger," said McMillian.

She eventually bounced back but now fears that the security she has found may be short-lived.

"I left Safeway at that time and ended up at King Soopers thinking, 'OK, here's a place that I can retire from. I'm comfortable and I like the people that I work with. I like working that job and here we go again,'" said McMillian.

That's because Albertsons and Kroger, the parent companies of King Soopers and Safeway, are seeking approval from the Federal Trade Commission to merge.

FTC Chair Lina Khan CBS

On Wednesday FTC Chair Lina Khan and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser participated in a listening session held by UFCW Local 7, the union that represents grocery workers in Colorado.

"We know that mergers have real life impact for people," said Khan. "We want to make sure that we're not just doing technical analysis that's looking at theoretical models, but actually understanding the real-life impact of what would happen if deals go through."

They heard from consumers who fear the merger could lead to even higher food prices and farmers and ranchers who fear the merger will lead to a loss of jobs in agriculture.

And, of course, they heard from Carol and her colleagues who fear their livelihoods are at risk.


"We don't know if they're going to keep the people that are employed at the stores," said McMillian.

They also fear for their customers.

"People need to be able to buy fresh, accessible, affordable groceries," said McMillian. "If this merger goes through, you know, our choice of where we shop could be taken away."

Khan says she has held these listening sessions all over the nation. 

If you missed the Colorado session but want to give your two cents, AG Phil Weiser's office has set up a website where you can submit a statement.

King Soopers released this statement, "To call this a "public listening session" is disingenuous and disheartening. It must have been disappointing to Attorney General Weiser to see his attempt at a public forum co-opted and turned into an anti-merger rally instead of a true public forum representing a broad cross-section of citizens. Even representatives of groups that support King Soopers were silenced by a raucous crowd of out-of-state interests. Only non-unionized retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, will benefit if this merger is blocked. In fact, Kroger joining with Albertsons will mean lower prices for customers, secure union jobs and more food directed to hungry families, with 10 billion meals committed to people in need across America by 2030."    

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