Michelle Obama today visited an Inglewood factory on S. Prairie Ave. that will soon become a grocery store; her visit was a promotion for her anti-childhood obesity "Let's Move" campaign, the Los Angeles Times reports. The new Northgate Gonzalez Markets and two sister stores in City Heights and South LA were partially made possible by millions of dollars in funding from the California FreshWorks Fund, a group of nonprofits, banks, and grocers who've committed $264 million in public-private loans to help build and open such stores in "food deserts" like Inglewood. Meanwhile, the the Los Angeles Business Journal (sub. req.) is all worried that a 2005 LA ordinance will throw a wrench in the works for grocery stores wanting to open in inner-city neighborhoods. The ordinance requires grocers to keep existing workers for 90 days after they take over a store (which small chains often do "because it’s difficult to find enough space to build sizable new stores"); that's long enough for a federal labor law to kick in that requires employers "to open union negotiations with existing union employees." Santa Monica and Gardena have a similar laws.
A representative for the California Grocers Association tells the LABJ that nonunion grocers are typically the first to enter inner-city areas, but that they won't want to open if their employees will be able to unionize. The state Supreme Court ruled against the grocers who sued to stop the ordinance, and the Supreme Court just refused the case, so the ordinance stands. Image of Central and Adams Fresh & Easy via freshneasybuzz
· Michelle Obama Visits Inglewood to Promote Food Access [LA Times]
· Nonunion Supermarkets May Shelve Inner-City Sites [LABJ]