March 11, 2011 -- Professor Katherine Stone discussed a case coming up for an en banc hearing in the 9th circuit, which centers on an antitrust challenge to the grocery stores' profit-sharing pact that they used to force a quick end to a strike by unionized store employees. Her comments appear in a Los Angeles Daily Journal article.
A possible contrary ruling by an 11-judge en banc court, affirming employers' right to share profits to break strikes, would come at a time when labor unions are under siege nationally, said Katherine V. Stone, an expert in labor and employment law at UCLA School of Law. State of California v. Safeway Inc., 08-5567.
The judges assigned to the en banc panel will be named next week.
"Unions have been weakened, and if the court gives this very powerful profit-sharing tactic the green light, it would be a big deal," Stone said. "Strikes are wars of attrition, and the economic conditions today make it difficult for unions to strike successfully.
"If employers can in fact have mutual indemnity pacts, that will be devastating. This case will be very closely watched."
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