Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, released the following in response to Safeway’s announced sale to Cerberus Capital Management: “Safeway announced that it has reached an agreement to be purchased by Cerberus Capital Management which currently operates supermarkets across the country under the Albertson’s, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s banners, among other stores. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents tens of thousands of workers within these two companies. Through ups and downs, the UFCW has maintained good relationships with both Safeway and Cerberus. The UFCW will work closely with Safeway and Cerberus through the acquisition process and beyond so that these major supermarket companies can maintain strong market share and that our members can continue to serve customers and their communities.” The Southern California locals are in negotiations for a new contract with the corporate parents of Vons and Albertsons and the announcement won’t change that. Local 770, which represents Los Angeles County workers, issued a statement after the news that Cerberus, the private equity firm that has owned Albertsons for more than a year, has reached a preliminary deal to buy Vons’ owner Safeway. It does not seem like that will have much affect, if any, on contract negotiations, which are ongoing between Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs and the UFCW. For one thing, there are still many details relating to the buyout still to be worked out. It could take a year before it closes. Also, Cerberus already has a relationship with the UFCW and it has “been assured that the company will continue to work with the Unions.”
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