Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday requiring grocery store owners to retain employees for at least 90 days after a merger or buyout, handing a victory to labor unions in a closely watched bill.
In addition to preventing a grocery store owner from firing workers without cause during that 90-day period, the legislation requires the store’s new owner to consider offering those workers continued employment.
Assembly Bill 359, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, was backed by labor unions and opposed by business interests. The California Chamber of Commerce included it in its annual list of “job killer” bills.
In a rare signing message, Brown, a Democrat, said it is not clear how the bill would apply to grocery stores that closed before being re-opened by a new owner.
“The author and sponsors have committed to clarify that the law would not apply to a grocery store that has ceased operations for six months or more,” Brown wrote. “I look forward to receiving that fix before the end of this legislative session.”