Albertsons, Vons Can Now Re-Hire Haggen Employees
Federal Trade Commission Votes Unanimously to Lift Non-Compete Clause
[Update, 9:52 a.m., September 30]
A statement from UFCW Local 770 on Tuesday said former Haggen employees are still unable to apply online to Vons, but that the company is working to remedy this.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Saturday it has approved Albertsons’ application to hire back Haggen workers, dissolving the antitrust restriction prohibiting Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions from employing former workers until a year after the 2015 divestiture. The pharmacy staff is still unable to be hired back, but in a press release UFCW Local 770 — the union representing grocery store workers in the Los Angeles area — said it is working with the FTC to lift this restriction as well.
Currently, Albertsons and Vons locations in Santa Barbara County may re-hire past employees without running “‘the risk of being accused of violating’ [their] contract with Haggen,” according to an official statement from the FTC. This modification to the contract between Albertsons, which owns Vons and Pavilions, and Haggen may benefit the approximately 6,000 employees who would be out of work should the court approve Haggen’s request to close 100 stores in its southwest market in addition to the 27 already slated for closure.
According to Carlos Illingworth, Director of Communications and Government Affairs for Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions, “We are pleased the FTC has approved our application, enabling us to rehire former Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions employees who may otherwise have lost their jobs or been economically disadvantaged as a result of Haggen’s recently announced store closures.”
Contrary to Haggen’s claims in bankruptcy court that the company hasn’t been able to find interested buyers, UFCW Local 770 said, “There is no evidence that Haggen conducted a real and organized sales process and looked for buyers to operate these stores.” In response to Haggen’s voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, UFCW Local 770 expressed its intention to work with “any other parties in the bankruptcy process who also want to see these stores sold as successful operations. “We are working to form our legal case and arguments to fight this motion,” the union said.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions and to reflect the fact that employees may also be re-hired at Pavilions.