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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled on Friday that it has agreed to modify a previous decision, saying that Albertsons now can rehire employees who had become Haggen employees when Haggen bought stores that had to be divested when Albertsons bought Safeway.

As pat of the original deal, the FTC said, "the parties agreed to certain restrictions on Albertsons’ ability, after the divestiture, to solicit and hire employees of stores Albertsons had transferred to Haggen. In light of Haggen’s announced store closings and pending bankruptcy, the parties now seek to modify that contract. According to the application, the modification will allow Albertsons to re-hire former employees without incurring 'the risk of being accused of violating' its contract with Haggen.

"The Commission has approved this application on an expedited basis (and waived the 30-day public comment period) to help employees of the divested stores more quickly find alternative employment."

In other, related news...

• The Portland Tribune reports that while Haggen is selling or closing all of its Pacific Southwest units and 21 stores in Oregon and Washington that it acquired when Albertsons bought Safeway and was forced by federal regulators to divest stores, two stores - in Lake Oswego and West Linn - are not on the list, and apparently will remain in business.
KC's View:
Gosh ... the FTC made this adjustment in just two weeks. Which must be something of s record for governmental common sense.

I feel awful for these employees, many of whom have seen their lives and futures thrown into utter disarray by this situation.

As for the Haggen stores being kept ... I find it a little ironic that they're keeping the one in Lake Oswego, where I did a FaceTime commentary back in May ... which you can read/see here. While there, I saw a "local" wine display that featured wines from California ... which struck me as a really bad sign when it came to paying attention to detail and understanding local markets. If they can't fix this, even the dramatically slimmed down Haggen won't be able to succeed long-term.