SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Albertsons Companies says it will eliminate its fleet of home delivery drivers across several states starting at the end of February.
The grocery store company — which includes Vons, Safeway, Albertsons, and more — says the decision was made to move a portion of its online operations to third parties who specialize in delivery services, like DoorDash or Instacart for example.
In a statement, the company said it made the decision in early December and is working to move impacted employees to other positions within the company:
"In early December, Albertsons Companies made the strategic decision to discontinue using our own home delivery fleet across a variety of market areas and states, beginning February 27, 2021. Our HR teams are working to place all impacted associates in stores, plants, and distribution centers.
We will transition that portion of our eCommerce operations to third-party logistics providers who specialize in that service. While we know that this move will help us create a more efficient operation, it wasn’t a decision we made lightly or without a great deal of consideration.
This decision will allow us to compete in the growing home delivery market more effectively. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our eCommerce business has risen to new heights and has become more strategically important to Albertsons Companies. Our goal is to truly make eCommerce a competitive advantage.
Regarding the associates who are currently in these positions: While it’s too soon to speculate how many associates will ultimately accept positions, Albertsons Companies Divisions plan to offer positions to each impacted associate interested in working in the Divisions. We can tell you that all associates who stay in their current roles through the end of this transition but choose to leave may be eligible to receive severance benefits according to the company’s plan – we will work with them on their individual situation. We are also offering an incentive bonuses to associates in those positions who stay through February 27."
The move comes as the coronavirus surges across California, forcing many residents to rely on grocery delivery more than ever.
Because of this and the importance of frontline jobs in grocery stores during the pandemic, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone called on the company to suspend their plans.
"All across California, Vons and Pavilions grocery workers have been bravely serving on the frontlines since the pandemic began, putting their own health at risk to ensure Californians have the food they need during this crisis. Now, with COVID-19 outbreaks spiraling out of control and overwhelming hospitals across California, it is stunning that Albertsons would fire these courageous and hard-working men and women keeping our food supply secure.
For seniors, high-risk individuals, and countless more who are quarantining, Vons and Pavilions grocery delivery drivers have been a trusted and crucial lifeline, providing access to food for some of the most vulnerable Californians. Exploiting the passage of Prop. 22 to destroy the good-paying jobs of these dedicated frontline workers, in the middle of this public health crisis, is simply wrong.
As the union for grocery workers across California, UFCW is calling on Albertsons to immediately halt these plans and to put the health of their customers first by protecting the jobs of these brave essential workers at a time when our communities need them most."
Workers affected by the cuts are not union employees. Albertsons Companies will start eliminating the positions on February 27, 2021.