Jason Hart, Ohio Watchdog, examines how WalMart obtained an injunction against union officials and paid agitators from demonstating in their stores, disrupting legitimate business. Hart also comments on other news media playing down union participation in the protests.
In a Nov. 24 court order, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert C. Winkler granted a preliminary injunction forbidding UFCW organizers and supporters not employed by Walmart from “entering onto Walmart’s private property in the State of Ohio” to engage in any of a long list of common union activities.
Winkler’s order limited the ability of union agitators to disrupt Walmart’s business on Black Friday. UFCW International headquarters in Washington, D.C., and UFCW Local 75 in Dayton proudly admit coordinated Black Friday protests are meant to hit the retailer on “the biggest shopping day of the year.”
UFCW Local 75, which represents workers in retail sales and other entry-level jobs in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, had 29,925 members as of Dec. 31, 2013. UFCW Local 75 secretary treasurer Steve Culter was paid $355,400 in 2013, while union president Lennie Wyatt was paid $328,116.
The Ohio injunction against the union specifically forbids “picketing, patrolling, parading, demonstrations, chanting, ‘flash mobs,’ handbilling, solicitation, customer disruptions, manager delegations or confrontations, or associate engagement for a non-shopping purpose.”
UFCW and its allies are also forbidden from “interfering with, obstructing, or blocking” Walmart entrances, and from “engaging in any nuisance conduct off Walmart’s private property which disrupts and/or interferes with Walmart customers’ or associates’ access to, or ability to move around on or exit” Walmart property.
Union organizers who are not Walmart employees “unlawfully trespassed onto and into Walmart’s private property and stores across Ohio” and “have continued to trespass onto Walmart’s private property and conduct demonstrations on Walmart’s private property” after being told to stop, Winkler wrote on Nov. 24.
Winkler found that UFCW’s “unauthorized entries onto Walmart’s private property throughout the State of Ohio are likely to continue in the future and a substantial and irreparable injury to Walmart and its property would be unavoidable” in the absence of a restraining order.
UFCW Local 75, in addition to demanding $15 hourly pay and full-time hours for Walmart workers . . opposes right-to-work laws, which allow workers to opt out of paying union bosses without being fired.