Union wins a little relief from order against entering Walmart property | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Union wins a little relief from order against entering Walmart property

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge WALMART PROTESTS: They can be enjoined on Walmart property and shopping center common areas, the Supreme Court has ruled. - UFCW
  • UFCW
  • WALMART PROTESTS: They can be enjoined on Walmart property and shopping center common areas, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The Arkansas Supreme Court today rejected most of a union's argument that it should not be prohibited from demonstrating against Walmart at its stores and nearby shopping areas.

The Supreme Court said the National Labor Relations Act did not prevent Walmart from claiming trespass by picketers and it also said the union couldn't assert a claim to demonstrate on common areas, such as parking lots and sidewalks, in Walmart shopping centers.

The court upheld an injunction against the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and a related organization, United for Respect at Walmart. The groups have organized nationally for years behind demonstrations to encourage better pay and working conditions at the retail chain and to protest retaliation against employees who speak out.

The Supreme Court agreed with the union organizations that a Benton County Circuit Court ruling went too far in banning "all non-shopping activity," including non-disruptive conduct, as Walmart wanted. Injunctive relief requires a showing of irreparable harm and the Supreme Court said Walmart hadn't proved that.

Based on the above, we hereby modify the circuit court's order to include the following language after the words "non-shopping activities" and "non-shopping conduct" on page 3 and "non-shopping purposes" on page 5: "such as picketing, patrolling, parading, demonstrations, "flash mobs," handbilling, solicitation, and manager confrontations." This language was included in the preliminary injunction and properly limits the scope of the order to those activities that were proven by Walmart to cause irreparable harm.
The decision was unanimous, though Justices Courtney Goodson and Karen Baker would have ruled on different ground on the pre-emption issue. Justice Jo Hart said she wouldn't have written the substitute language on non-shopping conduct, but sent it back to Judge John Scott to craft the language.

The decision brought this reaction from Making Change at Walmart:

Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), the national campaign to change Walmart into a more responsible employer, released the following statement from Campaign Director Randy Parraz in response to today's ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court:

We are pleased at the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to narrow the overbroad order.

Make no mistake, Making Change at Walmart will continue to fight for a better life for the millions of hard-working Walmart employees in every state across this country whose economic struggles have been long forgotten or ignored by Walmart and so many others. 

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