California Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Laws Protecting Right to Picket on Private Property in Labor Disputes

In a 6-1 decision, the California Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of two California laws—one protecting the right of labor demonstrators to picket on privately-owned property and the other creating stringent requirements for employers seeking injunctions during labor disputes—in Ralphs Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8, Case No. S185544, – Cal.4th – (Dec. 27, 2012). Paul More argued the case for the Union.  The Union had picketed a non-union grocery store, publicizing the store’s failure to pay family health benefits and urging customers to shop elsewhere. After the Court of Appeal held that the two statutes protecting the rights of the picketers were unconstitutional, the Supreme Court reversed.  It rejected the store’s argument that the statutes violated the First Amendment because they protect only labor-related speech, and upheld unions’ right to peacefully picket on private property open to the public.

The decision is available here.

News articles about the decision:

California Supreme Court upholds picketing at store entrance, Sacramento Bee, Dec. 28, 2012

Union pickets gain special protections from state justices, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 27, 2012,0,1261255.story

Unions can picket, state high court rules, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2012