Friday, December 28, 2012

California Supreme Court Upholds Peaceful Labor Picketing on Private Sidewalks


Update: Here is a link to the actual decision.

From the Los Angeles Times today, this interesting decision on peaceful labor picketing on private sidewalks by the California Supreme Court:

Signature gatherers and protesters may be ejected from privately owned walkways outside a store, but labor unions may picket there peacefully, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday. The state high court unanimously agreed that private walkways in front of stores, unlike public areas in shopping malls, are not open forums accessible to anyone who wants to assemble to express a view. But the justices split, 6 to 1, in upholding two state laws that prevent courts from issuing injunctions against peaceful labor pickets on private property. The laws protecting labor pickets are justified "by the state's interest in promoting collective bargaining to resolve labor disputes," Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court California "may single out labor-related speech for particular protection or regulation" as an exercise in the economic regulation of labor relations, Kennard wrote.

Of course, this is an area not subject to federal labor law preemption (since it deals with state property rights) and an area where California has been particularly solicitious of the rights of labor picketers in such situations (see also the Fashion Valley Mall decision). On the other hand, this decision only applies in California.

Hat Tip: Daniel Mitchell and Joe Slater


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