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greengrocer code, state labor law, employment law


While labor law academics bemoan the ossification of federal labor law, the potential for state labor law has just begun to be explored. This Article takes a closer look at the New York Greengrocer Code of Conduct, a unique approach to the problem of industry-wide employment law violations. The Code, negotiated by the New York Attorney General's Office in conjunction with groups representing workers and greengrocers, provides a set of minimum terms and conditions for grocers which to some extent go beyond statutory requirements. In return for agreeing to the Code, grocers can avoid liability for past state employment law infractions. Although the Code could be viewed as simply a creative settlement agreement, the Article explores how the Code in fact acts as a form of off-the-rack collective bargaining agreement with a state seal of approval. The Article also considers how similar agreements might be used in the future to address widespread employment law violations in industries sensitive to consumer pressure.