New Law Enhances Protections for Workers When Grocery Stores Change Ownership

Starting January 1, 2024, the Protect Grocery Workers Jobs Act (AB 647) will protect UFCW jobs by strengthening existing statewide grocery worker retention laws as well as extending coverage to warehouse workers.

Under existing law, when there is a change in control of a grocery establishment, the new owner is required to hire from a preferential hiring list of former employees for 90 days and retain those hired for at least 90 days.

AB 647 expands the law by:

  • Applying the preferential hiring requirement to stores that have been closed for less than 12 months instead of the current six months.

  • Revising the required employee information to be provided by the incumbent grocer and requiring that it also be provided to any collective bargaining representative.

  • Prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against employees seeking to enforce their rights.

  • Authorizing employees and/or their representatives to bring action in superior court over violations of the statute.

  • Authorizing the Labor Commissioner to enforce the law.

  • Making employers or their representatives who violate the law subject to civil penalties and liquidated damages.

  • Including distribution centers within the meaning of “grocery establishment” regardless of square footage.