Case Details

Year Initiated/Committed



U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Docket Number

CV 04-0687-GHK

Lead State


Participating States



Ralphs Grocery Company; Food 4 Less, Inc.; Safeway, Inc.; Albertson’s, Inc.

Case Description

The three largest supermarkets in southern California, Ralphs, Safeway (dba Vons and Pavillions) and Albertson’s joined into a multi-employer bargaining unit to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in southern California. At about the same time, these three supermarkets and Food 4 Less agreed to share revenues based on a fixed market share and fixed profit percentage during the pendency of a strike or lockout and for at least 2 weeks thereafter. These stores also agreed that Safeway and Albertson’s would share revenue on the same basis with Food 4 Less, should it become involved in its own strike or lockout. The agreement effectively punishes supermarkets who reduce prices to gain market share during a strike or lockout and rewards supermarkets that raise prices, while maintaining market share during a strike or lockout. Ultimately, the unions struck Safeway, and Ralphs and Albertson’s locked out their employees. The unions eventually stopped picketing Ralphs, but continued to picket at the Safeway and Albertson’s stores. The strike lasted 20 weeks. As a result of the revenue sharing agreement, approximately $146,000,000 was paid by Ralphs to Safeway and Albertson’s. Plaintiff contends this agreement is a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Defendants contend that it is exempt from antitrust scrutiny under the non-statutory labor exemption and that it does not violate the antitrust laws. On May 25, 2005, the court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, stating, “Overall, the challenged revenue-sharing provision of the (grocers’ agreement) is not sufficiently connected to the subject matter of the collective bargaining process, or to matters required to be negotiated collectively.” 371 F. Supp. 2d 1179 (C.D. Cal. 2005)