Friday, December 28, 2007
Divided California High Court Rules Union Free Speech Rights Outweigh Mall's Private Property Interests
The California Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-3 decision issued on December 24, 2007, that a shopping mall's prohibition against unions and other third parties from urging consumer boycotts of mall tenants was contrary to the state Constitution's right to free speech. The court in Fashion Valley Mall v. National Labor Relations Board plainly summed up its decision, stating, "the right to free speech granted by article I, section 2 of the California Constitution includes the right to urge customers in a shopping mall to boycott one of the stores in the mall.
This appears to be a major victory for unions in California. It also demonstrates that state law could be a powerful weapon for organized labor. Workplace Prof Blog excellent analysis is available here.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein