Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown signs job protection for grocery workers

Susan Moy, right, compares products with Ali Feng, left, on July 9, 2015, at the new 99 Ranch grocery store that recently opened in Alhambra.
Susan Moy, right, compares products with Ali Feng, left, on July 9, 2015, at the new 99 Ranch grocery store that recently opened in Alhambra. Los Angeles Times

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.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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