Monday, March 27, 2023

Play

Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

Play

Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Albertsons-Kroger Merger Raises Concerns for Rural CA

Play

Tuesday, January 24, 2023   

The proposed merger between supermarket giants Albertsons and Kroger is raising alarm bells in rural communities worried about the impact on consumers, farmers, and workers. Together, the companies own 734 Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Ralphs stores in the state, and have indicated that between 100 and 350 could be sold off.

Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said consolidation among grocery chains allows them to squeeze more profit on both ends - by lowballing farmers and raising prices for customers.

"We've seen food-production workers and farmers getting paid less, and we see consumers paying more for groceries," Mitchell said. "You've got the middlemen, including the supermarket chains, who are becoming incredibly profitable."

Albertsons and Kroger have assured workers the new owners of any stores they sell will honor union agreements.

But Chris Tilly, professor of urban planning and at UCLA, and an expert on economics said there is no guarantee.

"Workers are rightly skeptical of that, particularly because when Albertsons and Safeway merged, they spun off 168 stores, and quite soon, a lot of those stores closed," Tilly said.

Congress recently passed two bills to improve oversight of large mergers. Mitchell said the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act will allow federal agencies to charge the companies more to review mega-transactions - so they can hire enough staff to conduct a proper review.

"The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are woefully underfunded in terms of their antitrust activities. The size of those agencies really has not kept pace with the growth in the economy," he said. "And we have a significant monopoly problem. "

The new State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act will help state attorneys general keep the case in their selected courts - and prevent large companies from venue shopping to find a judge the company thinks could be sympathetic.


get more stories like this via email
During this year's ACA open-enrollment period, a record high of more than 16 million people signed up, with 4.4 million more enrolled for health insurance coverage since 2021, according to federal data. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

It's been 13 years since more than 156,000 West Virginians gained health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. As sweeping and …


Social Issues

High school graduates have the option before taking their next academic step to choose a gap year - for traveling, relaxing, or researching different …

Environment

A bill designed to fight price-gouging at the gas pump is expected to pass the California State Assembly today and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom …


Student leaders learn about the estuary near Morro Rock, which is part of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. (Kai Monge)

Environment

This week, Hispanic environmental advocates are heading to Washington, D.C., from around the country to engage lawmakers on issues affecting us all…

Social Issues

More than one in three Ohioans are relying on credit cards for spending needs, and nearly a quarter say they've increased their credit-card use in …

2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Dani Charbonneau, who runs the Project Vine Alternative Program at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, is the first Martha's Vineyard teacher to win the state's top award for educators. (MTA)

Social Issues

Massachusetts, like other states, continues to struggle with a shortage of teachers. But for one English teacher at Martha's Vineyard Regional High …

Health and Wellness

Beginning next year, more Kentuckians will have expanded access to biomarker testing - which helps doctors customize cancer treatment. Advocates of …

Environment

Researchers with the University of New Hampshire are taking to the skies to study the state's increasingly fragmented forests. Urban and …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021