FTC waives order barring Albertsons from hiring Haggen workers

The Federal Trade Commission waived an order that barred Albertsons from hiring Haggen workers, according to a press release posted Friday on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Before the announcement it was unclear whether Albertsons could hire Haggen employees without violating an anti-poaching order imposed by the FTC. The FTC presided over Haggen’s purchase of 146 Albertsons stores earlier this year and made the anti-poaching order to make Haggen more competitive in new markets.

The FTC’s today said the modification to the contract between Albertsons and Haggen “will allow Albertsons to re-hire former employees without incurring “the risk of being accused of violating” its contract with Haggen.”

The FTC waived a 30-day public comment period and approved the application unanimously on an expedited basis.

In August, Bellingham-based Haggen announced plans to close 27 stores.

On Thursday, the supermarket chain announced plans to close 1oo more stores and reorganizing around 37 supermarkets in Oregon and Washington as part of its chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Haggen filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on Sept. 8, after a failed expansion.

Haggen said in a press release on Thursday that it supported Albertsons application to waive the FTC’s restriction on hiring Haggen employees.

“This has been a priority for Haggen management to ensure its employees can take advantage of every opportunity available to them,” the release said.

The FTC ordered Albertsons to sell 168 stores before merging with Safeway this year. Haggen bought the bulk of those stores.

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