On Thursday, 30 June, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Eight found in favor of Walmart in the case of Walmart v. United Food And Commercial Workers International. From Court Documents:
In September 2014, the trial court issued a permanent injunction barring defendants United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart; collectively the union) from conducting demonstrations inside stores owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and affiliated companies (collectively Walmart). On appeal, the union contends the trial court had no jurisdiction to enter the injunction because the matter was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 151, et seq.; NLRA). We conclude the NLRA does not preempt Walmart’s trespass action. [Emphasis not in original, JH] FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND In 2011, the union began organizing and conducting demonstrations at Walmart stores across the United States, including in California. The demonstrations were part of a union campaign designed to induce Walmart to provide its employees better working conditions and pay. The campaign also sought to pressure Walmart to reinstate employees the union alleged Walmart had discharged or disciplined for exercising their rights under the NLRA. In March 2013, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In the charge, Walmart alleged defendants violated Section 8, subdivision (b)(1)(A) of the NLRA (Section 8(b)(1)(A); 29 U.S.C. § 158, subd. (b)(1)(A)) by “planning, orchestrating, and conducting a series of unauthorized and blatantly trespassory in-store mass demonstrations, invasive ‘flash mobs,’ and other confrontational group activities at numerous facilities nationwide . . . by which the UFCW restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights (which includes the right to refrain from supporting the UFCW) by attempting to impose its will on local facility management in front of facility employees through the sheer force of a mass of moving bodies despite requests and direction by local management to leave.” In May 2013, Walmart filed a complaint in the Los Angeles superior court for trespass, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the union.* The complaint alleged the union trespassed inside Walmart stores to engage in “unauthorized activities.” *Walmart filed similar suits in other states. It secured a permanent injunction in Arkansas, and prevailed on preemption arguments in trial courts in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. Walmart has informed this court that least some of these rulings have been challenged on appeal. As discussed in greater detail below, a Washington state court found the NLRA preempted Walmart’s claims. A state appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l. Union (Wash.Ct.App. 2015) 354 P.3d 31, review den. (Wash. 2016) 367 P.3d 1084 [table] (Walmart Stores).) While this case was pending, Colorado, Maryland and Florida appellate courts affirmed lower court orders finding Walmart’s trespass claims were not preempted. (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l Union (Colo.Ct.App., May 5, 2016, No. 14CA2061) [2016 WL 2605737]; United Food & Commer. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Fla.Ct.App., May 20, 2016, No. 5015-1434) [2016 WL 2943255]; United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l Union v. Wal-Mart Stores (Md.Ct.Spec.App., June 1, 2016, No. 376) [2016 WL 3070949].)No word yet from the union as to what, if any, the next step might be. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.