California Court Rules Against Worker-Retention Ordinance

A Los Angeles city ordinance that required certain supermarket operators to retain workers when a store changed ownership has been declared unconstitutional by the Second District Court of Appeals here, upholding a 2008 trial court ruling.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Los Angeles city ordinance that required certain supermarket operators to retain workers when a store changed ownership has been declared unconstitutional by the Second District Court of Appeals here, upholding a 2008 trial court ruling.

According to the California Grocers Association, the court ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that the ordinance was unconstitutional on two separate bases: The California Retail Food Code preempts this attempt at creating a health and safety standard, which was the stated reason for the ordinance, and the ordinance intrudes into the collective bargaining process as outlined by the National Labor Relations Act by subjecting employers to successorship obligations not provided for in the act.

The original ordinance was passed in 2005 by the city of Los Angeles, followed by similar laws in Santa Monica, San Francisco and Gardena.

In May 2006 the California Grocers Association mounted a legal challenge that resulted in a lower court ruling the ordinance unconstitutional. According to CGA, the ordinance discouraged supermarkets and potentially other businesses from locating within certain cities.

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