LUBBOCK, Texas — U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Wednesday announced her opposition to the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertson’s, which is the parent company of Lubbock-based United Family.

“More mergers and less competition would mean even higher prices—and layoffs for employees,” Warren said on Twitter.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont also called on federal regulators to reject the merger.

Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democrat, and Mike Lee of Utah, a Republican, announced the Senate’s judiciary subcommittee on competition will hold a hearing next month on the merger.

Klobuchar and other senators wrote to the Federal Trade Commission, saying in part, “This merger raises considerable antitrust concerns.”

“When Albertson’s merged with Safeway in 2015, the FTC found that the merger was likely to harm competition in 130 separate markets and required the company to sell more than 150 stores,” the letter to the FTC said. “… Albertson’s was allowed to buy back many of the stores that the FTC required it to sell.”

In the current proposal, Kroger and Albertson’s announced that up to 375 stores would be spun off into a separate public company.

The spinoff would likely be in places far from Lubbock.

“We would expect a potential regulatory pushback given overlap in key West Coast states such as California, Washington, etc.,” said analyst Rupesh Parikh with Oppenheimer & Co. He was quoted in analysis for

Reuters, citing Euromonitor as a source, reported recently that Walmart holds more than 25 percent of the grocery market as of 2021. Kroger holds 8.1 percent and Albertson’s 4.8 percent, Reuters said.

“Kroger’s $25 billion deal for Albertsons aims at competing with leader Walmart,” Reuters said.

United Family, which operates as United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and other banners, referred all questions to Albertsons when news of the proposed merger first broke.

Albertson’s operates 24 banners including United and a joint statement with Kroger said in part, “Kroger has a track record of successful integrations that combine the strengths of each company while maintaining and enhancing each organizations’ distinctive banners and storied histories.”

Critics, including the Institute for Local Self Reliance, fear the end result could be higher prices.

“The refusal to stop predatory buying has allowed big businesses to shut out their smaller rivals,” ILSR said. What does “predatory buying?”

“They [retail giants] exert their power as dominant buyers of food and goods to bully suppliers, extracting discounts for themselves while forcing independent retailers to pay more,” ILSR said.

Unions asked the FTC to stop the deal, calling it, “devastating for workers and customers alike.”

“Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said the combined company would lower food prices, boost profitability and speed up innovation,” CNBC reported.

In the October 14 announcement of the deal, it said, “Kroger plans to invest in lowering prices for customers and expects to reinvest approximately half a billion dollars of cost savings from synergies to reduce prices for customers.”

The statement also promised higher wages for workers.

The merger is expected to close in early 2024, assuming the critics do not sway the FTC.