Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Union Suit Claims Grocery Lockout Is Illegal ‘Mass Layoff’
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
Seven grocery union locals sued Albertsons and Ralphs yesterday for locking out employees immediately after their colleagues went on strike against Vons on Saturday night.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union locals claim the lockout violates California’s Mass Layoff Notification Law, Labor Code Sec. 1401. Passed in 2002, that section requires that every individual employee be given 60 days notice before any mass layoff.
Sec. 1400 of the code defines “layoff” as ìa separation from a position for lack of funds or lack of work.î
A ìmass layoffî is defined as a layoff during any 30-day period of 50 or more employees.
Calls to media representatives for Albertsons and Ralphs were not immediately returned.
The plaintiffs, who allege that neither Ralphs nor Albertsons gave notice of intent to lock out, seek back pay and health care and pension payments for the 60 days the law stipulates.
The unions estimate that the amount owed their locked out members exceeds several hundred million dollars.
In the current labor dispute spearheaded by the seven Southern California UFCW locals, a strike against Vons is in its fourth day.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company