SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In what attorneys called a “huge win for retailers in the Golden State,” a California Court of Appeal ruling has preserved the right of retailers to restrict union picketing on their properties.
The ruling by a three-judge panel overturned a previous Superior Court ruling in a dispute between Kroger’s Ralphs Grocery Co. and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 8. The suit was filed by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. in 2008 after UFCW representatives repeatedly picketed a nonunion FoodsCo store in Sacramento operated by Ralphs. The panel agreed with Kroger’s contention that parts of a state law regarding picketing violated the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Law firm Morrison & Forrester, which represented Kroger in the case, said it was “a major win for California retailers, many of whom have been unable to remove or regulate picketers on their properties and have suffered a resulting loss of business.”
Local 8 had previously called Kroger’s suit “an attempt to deny our legal right to free speech and assembly,” and said the 2008 decision was “a victory for working people and the Bill of Rights.” A union official wasn’t immediately available for further comment.
Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW Local 8, in a statement decried an “activist and radical” ruling. "Even those with the most anti-labor points of view can see the hostility and lack of logic in this. The Constitution should be held sacred regardless of how much a judge wants to pander to business."