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  • States Exempt Labor Unions from Stalking, Trespassing Laws

    At least four states provide exemptions to anti-stalking laws for labor union officials conducting organizing activities, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Every state in America criminalizes stalking, generally defined as repeated unwanted contact with another individual designed to cause some sort of mental or emotional distress. But Illinois, California, Nevada, and Pennsylvania offer broad exemptions for union officials.

    A law in Illinois, for instance, exempts from stalking prohibitions individuals who are engaging in “any controversy concerning wages, salaries, hours, working conditions or benefits . . . the making or maintaining of collective bargaining agreements, and the terms to be included in those agreements.”

    Pennsylvania law says that laws against stalking “shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute.” That could prove troubling for the owners of Philadelphia-based Post Brothers Apartments, who allege that the wife of one of the company’s owners “is routinely followed taking their toddler to pre-school by picketers” involved in a labor dispute.

    The Chamber explains more generally why these exemptions are concerning:

    Harassment of opponents is often part of a union’s effort to confront adversaries and pressure them to give in to its demands, and stalking is one aspect of this behavior. Unions have been known to employ this tactic even against other unions. For example, in 2008, the California Nurses’ Association (CNA) obtained a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) because the SEIU repeatedly sent activists to the homes of CNA board members during a long, acrimonious dispute between the two rival unions.

    Sometimes, though, the harassment goes even further and crosses into the truly scary. The owner of a non-union electrical services business in Ohio, for example, was the repeated victim of stalking and other acts of violence against him during a bitter union organizing effort. In addition to having rocks thrown through the windows at his place of business, his car’s tires punctured multiple times, and an assault on one of his employees, this business owner was actually shot in the arm by an intruder he confronted in his front yard after he discovered the person vandalizing his car.

    Some state laws exempt union activities from other criminal prohibitions, such as trespassing. As the Chamber explains, California “explicitly excludes persons engaged in labor union activities” from its strict laws against trespassing, which specify that individuals must leave another’s property when asked.

    California prohibits individuals from entering or exiting a private property, or from willingly inhibiting the operations of a business, imposing fines and a potential 90-day imprisonment for those convicted of the latter. But as with its trespassing laws, the state has exempted unions from these laws.

    Exemptions to these California laws are the subject of ongoiong litigation, the Chamber explains:

    Beginning in October 2008, representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 8 began to picket outside a Ralphs store on a sidewalk owned by Ralphs. According to court documents…the picketers…provoked confrontations with store employees and harassed customers coming to shop, so store employees called the police. Unfortunately for Ralphs, the police refused to remove the protesters, even though the disruptive behavior and confrontations were occurring on the store’s own property.

    In response to this situation, Ralphs filed a lawsuit against the union seeking an injunction to end the union tactics. The trial court declined to issue the injunction claiming that it was prevented from doing so because of another California state law prohibiting injunctions against unions. An appeals court, however, ruled in Ralphs’ favor after finding the state law cited by the trial court was unconstitutional because it granted greater rights to unions than to others. As of July 2012, the case was pending appeal in the California Supreme Court.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to States Exempt Labor Unions from Stalking, Trespassing Laws

    1. BHop says:

      Unions and violence. Violence has always been a landmark of union organizing. However, there has been a substantial reduction in violence over the last 50 years as unions faded, and the union members, generation by generation, have become more educated. Violence worked when the collected and organized members could not leave without losing benefits. Union violence frightened people. It still does. It is a shame that four states still accept violence by legislation. They shall now see more violence than the other 46 states.

    2. Doc Freeman says:

      What else can you expect from unions and Democrats that support them? They were founded by Marxist and now American thugs, like Jimmy Hoffa. I would say that 95% of the union members are fine upstanding citizens, yet you still have that 5% that will stop at nothing to get their way no matter who it hurts. What is extremely depressing is the fact that the 95% do not try and stop the 5% that gives unions a very bad reputation.

    3. Don DeHoff says:

      Citizens of those 4 states should be demanding both state and federal legislation clearly spelling out "equal protection" against harassment, intimidation or threats, by unions and/or their surrogates, with stiff fines for violations thereof, especially the union leaders, with repeated offenses resulting in loss of union status for both the individuals charged and the union as a body. There should be mandatory 6-month jail time for those authorizing and/or actually engaged in violence. Unions today are one of the major causes of our economic troubles, in that they fail to recognize the labor issues involved in world-trade and production.

    4. Don DeHoff says:

      Citizens of those 4 states should be demanding both state and federal legislation clearly spelling out "equal protection" against harassment, intimidation or threats, by unions and or their surrogates, with stiff fines for violations thereof, especially the union leaders, with repeated offenses resulting in loss of union status for both the individuals charged and the union as a body. There should be mandatory minimum 6-month jail time for those authorizing and/or actually engaged in violence. Unions today are one of the major causes of our economic troubles, in that they fail to recognize the labor issues involved in world-trade and production.

    5. Kay Lantow says:

      It is bullies like union thugs these laws are needed to protect people, businesses and FREE SPEECH! I expect is from Illinois and other states, but as a native Californian, am more and more disgusted with the total thuggish idiots elected to office in this state and at local levels! Where is the shame!?

    6. Chicago "Community Organizing" at it's best. No one should have to tolerate being harassed by thugs!

    7. It may eventually be heard by the California Supreme Court, but if the Unions lose their, it will simply be appealed to the Ninth District Court of Appeals and the Unions will win there as that is the most liberal court in history!

    8. FmrUSMCRnTX says:

      Thanks Mr. Markay for providing us this information. Unfortunately this just points out the way that the labor unions (both public & private sector) operate and the way SOME state legislators have caved in (or been paid off?) to support this kind of thuggery. As a lifelong student of history, I'll simply say that the kind of tactics ALLOWED by these states to the laborites is the very same as were used by the National Socialists in Germany prior to WWII and in both the USSR and Communist China! All of whom used in one form or another of the slogan "Workers of the World Unite" to overcome any resistance to their tyrannical movement. Union membership here in the USA is currently at an all time low…and the labor union bosses will resort to ANY MEANS to achieve their ends….which is essentially putting more money in THEIR pockets while at the same time providing them with increased POLITICAL POWER!! Disgusting, shameful & despicable…but they've operated this way for many, many years! :(

    9. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Question: Why?

    10. Bobbie says:

      Just so sad labor unions are under their impression to be above the law with help from government entities intentional failure to enforce stalking penalties from the start.

    11. Chris says:

      WOW this is what Pepper Spray is for Riot comtrol unit 5lb can that shoots 35ft Soak them down….

    12. Cynthia says:

      And some of these states wonder why they are in deep water fiscally? And they wonder why they have mob problems? These are states that are not friendly to small businesses but are more than loyal to corrupt union bosses – and probably their kickbacks. If I were the owner of one of these harassed places I'd up and move to a right to work state like Texas – taking my jobs with me. Which will be one more rent in the fabric of the economy of California, Illinois, Nevada, and Pennysylvania.

    13. plusaf says:

      Isn't it wonderful to discover that UNIONS don't have to worry about being accused of unfair or MONOPOLISTIC privileges or actions?…. just private employers…

      Alice, is it a left or right turn to the Mad Hatters? Ah, left turn… thought so!

    14. SeanCrist says:

      my group stalkers have been calling my cell phone and asking for Rick(because it rhymes with p**c and Rich (because it rhymes with b**ch)

    15. Dave Foss says:

      I really had no idea these union tactics were this terrible. What's worse, the politicians and judges who were bought and paid for by the unions and how they are allowed to make their own rules and regulations. Over the next few years, you will see Right-to-Work states flourish and thrive, while California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Nevada will be the bottom 4 states for job growth. Sad

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