Economic Liberties and UFCW Locals Coalition Call for DOJ Criminal Investigation Into Kroger-Albertsons No-Poach Agreements

May 8, 2024 Press Release

Washington, DC — In response to revelations that Kroger and Albertsons engaged in wage-fixing, no-poach and non-solicitation agreements—mentioned by the Federal Trade Commission and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in lawsuits against the proposed merger of the supermarket giants—the American Economic Liberties Project and UFCW Locals Stop the Merger Coalition sent a letter calling on the Department of Justice to a open criminal investigation into the documented anticompetitive collusion against workers between the companies.

“Kroger and Albertsons have been caught red-handed colluding to rig workers’ wages and stifling job mobility, criminal violations under antitrust law. They must face consequences,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Recent lawsuits to block the Kroger-Albertsons merger revealed emailed commitments by Albertsons executives not to hire or solicit Kroger employees during a strike and other illegal conduct. The Department of Justice must swiftly prosecute to show crime doesn’t pay.”

“Kroger and Albertsons have shown that there is apparently no depth to which they will not stoop to suppress the wages and benefits of working people,” said Kim Cordova, President of UFCW local 7 in Colorado whose state Attorney General uncovered a no-poach agreement that harmed Local 7 grocery store members during their January 2022 ten-day strike. She added, “Corporations that break the law and commit economic crimes cause real harm to workers and consumers, and we hope the U.S. Department of Justice will vigorously investigate these wrongdoers.”

After collective bargaining negotiations broke down in January 2022, UFCW employees at Kroger-owned stores in Colorado went on strike. Shortly after, Albertsons’ Senior Vice President of Labor Relations wrote to Kroger’s Vice President for Labor & Associate Relations saying, “we don’t intend to hire any King Soopers [Kroger] employees … [and] we don’t intend to solicit or publicly communicate that King Soupers employees should transfer their scripts to us,” according to the Colorado Attorney General’s lawsuit. The FTC’s lawsuit alleges coordination between Kroger and Albertsons in several instances, leading to union contracts with less favorable salaries and benefits for workers.

As the letter makes clear, this conduct—wage fixing, no-poach and non-solicitation agreements—amounts to felony violations of the Sherman Act, and could carry criminal penalties.

Read the full letter here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.