An agreement among grocery chains to share profits during a labor strike violated antitrust laws, a divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday.

In siding with the California attorney general’s office, which sued the chains for anti-competitive behavior, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said the agreement had an anti-competitive effect, even if it was temporary and intended to counter the unions’ tactic of striking only one chain in hopes of pressuring it to cave.

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