In the flurry of media coverage about the proposed takeover of Safeway by a private equity firm, much attention has been paid to the need to increase share price. No attention has been given to the effect such a change in ownership will have on the workers at the grocery chain.

It is my privilege to be president of the union that represents Safeway workers in the western part of Northern California.

Our union is familiar with Cerberus, the odds-on favorite to take over Safeway. Our members at Albertsons got a new boss in 2006, the same one apparently slated to take over Safeway. Because of the completely incompetent management of Idaho-based Albertsons, the chain was vulnerable to a takeover, and in stepped Cerberus.

A customer grabs a shopping cart at a Safeway store in Cupertino in February 2011.
A customer grabs a shopping cart at a Safeway store in Cupertino in February 2011. (Paul Sakuma/AP file)

The new employer, modestly named after the mythological dogs that guard the gates of hell, sold every piece of property that wasn't nailed down and some that was. The results in terms of store closures, reductions in hours and rundown stores were miserable for the workers and the shopping public alike.

Our members at Albertsons experienced no upside to this corporate takeover, and had they not been represented by the UFCW, the results would have been far more devastating.

Back in the '80s, the movie "Wall Street" came out. The outfits that took over companies and jettisoned properties and workers with equal zeal back then were called corporate raiders, green mailers, arbitrageurs and leveraged buyout specialists.

Their motivation was pretty clear -- racking up huge financial gains for themselves and their deep-pocketed investors. Why build something when you can destroy it and reap a quick buck?

Today, we have "The Wolf of Wall Street." Hollywood's portrayal of the characters depicted performing corporate takeovers has remained fairly consistent.

Off the movie screen, however, corporate America has succeeded in recasting corporate raiders as job and wealth creators.

No matter how this is recast or repackaged, the bottom line is the hardworking men and women employed at takeover targets get the short end of the stick.

The name Cerberus comes from Greek mythology. This situation is reminiscent of a Greek tragedy in which everyone knows what's going to happen but can't do anything about it.

It would be best for the workers and the shopping public if the greed and avarice of the Safeway and Cerberus negotiators led to the demise of this deal.

If the takeover goes through, the UFCW will do its best to make sure the Albertsons story doesn't repeat itself at Safeway.

Ron Lind is president of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 5.