California Grocers Association Responds To AB 183 (MA) Press Conference


Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793
E-mail: [email protected]

California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814

SACRAMENTO, CA — (June 15, 2011) – Ronald Fong, President and CEO of the California Grocers Association, today released the following statement in response to Assemblymember Fiona Ma’s press conference on Assembly Bill 183:

“Assembly Bill 183 is just another recycled idea from previous legislative sessions. While the legislation purports to tackle alcohol purchases at assisted self-checkout stands, in reality it is a bill backed by the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in order to attack non-union retailers.

Recently, the Los Angeles Times came out in opposition to AB 183 and pointed out in its editorial, AB 183 ‘might save some union jobs, there is little evidence that it would reduce underage drinking.’ (Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2011)

A similar bill (AB 1060 – De La Torre) was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger and the veto message pointed out the following:

‘There is no legitimate evidence to suggest that self-service grocery checkout stands are contributing to the theft of alcoholic beverages and sale to minors or intoxicated persons. Retailers have several strong reasons to prevent the theft or sale of alcohol to minors, including the fact that alcohol is an expensive product to be stolen and a grocer’s alcohol sales license could be placed in jeopardy. Thus, it is unclear what problem this bill seeks to address.’ (AB 1060 Veto Message, 2010)

Nothing has changed since the veto of last year’s legislation. In fact, new data collected from the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) confirms that the overwhelming majority of violations for selling alcohol to minors take place at small liquor stores, not at retail markets.

Our members understand that selling alcohol to minors is a serious violation of the law and our members work hard to ensure that minors cannot buy alcohol. No responsible retailer would risk losing a license to sell these products in their stores. Stores that use self-checkout have solid protections in place to prevent minors from attempting to purchase alcohol considering that the current technology requires an attendant to approve alcohol-related transactions. We see this legislation as a solution in search of a problem.”

The California Grocers Association is a non-profit trade association representing the food industry since 1898 and represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada.