A major part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union's strategy for dealing with the impending arrival of supercenters operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., in Southern California is to zone the mass merchandiser out of the region, according to Rick Icaza, president, UFCW Local 770, Los Angeles.
er in that city just east of Los Angeles, the company noted at the time.
However, the council voted to reverse itself in early December. Icaza said the reversal came as a result of Interim City Attorney Emmerline Foote saying that the ordinance was invalid because it had not gone through the Inglewood Planning Commission. The Los Angeles Times noted that along with the city attorney's warning, a petition with the signatures of more than 9,000 calling for a referendum on the ordinance had been submitted to the council in November, and that both the city attorney and the petition had influenced the council's decision to reverse itself.
Icaza said the union is currently trying to get the ordinance approved by the Inglewood Planning Commission.
Meanwhile, he added, the union is now involved in creating a different type of big-box ordinance. This one, he explained, attempts to "prevent employers from coming into the area and blighting the enterprise zones of Los Angeles. Roughly 85% of Los Angeles is covered by enterprise zones, and the city can regulate them."
Icaza said the measure would keep out employers who pay lower than prevailing wages and offer substandard benefit packages.
"The other approaches we have used are based on economic impact," he said. "With this ordinance, we're talking about economic blight. This is based on the same theory that has been used in passing living wage ordinances.
"We had a preliminary hearing before the economic committee of the Los Angeles City Council. They approved for the Los Angeles County attorney to draft an ordinance. There will probably be two public hearings. We're very optimistic that we'll get this thing passed."