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ALAMEDA NEWSPAPERS, INC. v. CITY OF OAKLAND

April 29, 1994

ALAMEDA NEWSPAPERS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF OAKLAND, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES A. LEGGE

 This is an action seeking to invalidate a resolution of the Oakland City Council on the alleged grounds of preemption by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. (NLRA), and violations of the United States Constitution.

 I.

 The parties have made cross-motions for summary judgment. The motions were opposed, argued and submitted for decision. The court has also received an amicus curiae brief from the Northern California Newspaper Guild, Local 52, submitted in support of defendants' position. The court has read the moving and opposing papers, the record of the case, and the relevant authorities.

 II.

 Plaintiff Alameda Newspapers Inc. is a corporation which publishes the Oakland Tribune, a general circulation daily newspaper. Defendants are the City of Oakland, the Oakland City Council, the mayor, the vice mayor, and six members of the Oakland City Council.

 Plaintiff has been involved in labor disputes with unions which represent some of the Oakland Tribune's employees. In July 1993, the Alameda County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, began a boycott of plaintiff's newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune. The boycott asked subscribers to cancel their subscriptions to, and for businesses not to advertise in, plaintiff's newspapers.

 On September 14, 1993 the Oakland City Council adopted the resolution which is at issue in this case, No. 70367 C.M.S

 
A RESOLUTION ENDORSING THE BOYCOTT OF THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE AND OTHER ALAMEDA NEWSPAPER GROUP PUBLICATIONS UNTIL THE CURRENT LABOR DISPUTE IS RESOLVED
 
WHEREAS, last fall, Texas-based Garden State Newspapers, Inc., publisher of Alameda Newspaper Group publications, purchased the Oakland Tribune, ending a century-long tradition of hometown ownership of the Tribune, and
 
WHEREAS, the City of Oakland has in the past designated the Oakland Tribune as the newspaper of record for the City of Oakland's official notices; and
 
WHEREAS, the Oakland Tribune is no longer printed and published in the City of Oakland as is required by City Charter of the City's newspaper of record; and
 
WHEREAS, no other newspaper meets the City Charter's requirements for the City's newspaper of record; and
 
WHEREAS, the new owners of the Oakland Tribune have embarked on a course of anti-labor conduct, including:
 
Eliminating some 500 Oakland jobs at the time of purchase of the Tribune, and eliminating some 130 jobs at the time of the initial purchase of ANG;
 
Refusing to recognize the jurisdiction of Teamster Mailers Local 15 and Drivers Local 296;
 
Refusing after six years at the bargaining table to settle a first contract with Northern California Newspaper Guild Local 52 for editorial employees at five ANG publications;
 
Offering at the bargaining table less than one-half the journeyman pay rate for experienced editorial employees; refusing to guarantee health and welfare coverage to these employees, and refusing to agree to union security provisions that are standard in California private sector contracts; and
 
Issuing a falsified government document after Cal/OSHA investigated the high incidence of job injury complaints in ANG newsrooms; and
 
WHEREAS, the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, AFL-CIO has initiated a boycott of the Oakland Tribune and other Alameda Newspaper Group publications; now, therefore, be it
 
RESOLVED: That the City of Oakland open up the process to select the official newspaper of the City; and, be it
 
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Oakland City Council endorse the boycott of the Oakland Tribune and other Alameda Newspaper Group publications; and, be it
 
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Council urges all citizens of Oakland to stop purchasing and advertising in the Oakland Tribune and Alameda Newspaper Group publications until the labor dispute is successfully concluded.

 Plaintiff then brought this action, claiming that the resolution is regulatory in nature and is preempted by the NLRA. In the alternative, plaintiff claims that the resolution deprives it of its rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Defendants contend that the resolution is purely proprietary ...


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