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Supreme Court Will Not Review Ralph’s Grocery Request to Deny UFCW Picketing Rights


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If the good news about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Arizona’s restrictive voter ID law hasn’t satisfied your human rights’ appetite for the day, look no further than California where SCOTUS has denied a review of Ralph’s Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 8. This decision effectively upholds a California Supreme Court decision allowing union picketing rights on private property.  

When seeking an appeal, Ralph’s argued that their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated and that two California laws used to decide the precedent were unconstitutional:  

The state high court ruled last December, in a 6-1 decision, that two statutes—Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 527.3, also known as the Moscone Act, and Labor Code Sec. 1138.1—do not unconstitutionally interfere with the rights of property owners.

The decision reversed a Third District Court of Appeal ruling, holding that Ralphs, which owns the Foods Co chain of warehouse-type grocery stores, was entitled to an injunction against picketing by the union at a Foods Co in Sacramento.

Foods Co is, unlike Ralphs, non-union. Local 8 has been trying to organize workers at Foods Co stores in Sacramento and Fresno, but reached an impasse with the grocer, and organized an informational picketing campaign urging customers to shop elsewhere.

The company responded by trying to bar the pickets as trespassers. But after litigation in the lower courts, the state’s high courts agreed with the union that the two statutes applied and are constitutional.

Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW Local 8 Golden State, responded to the high court’s decision telling Supermarket News the organization was “gratified with the Supreme Court’s decision.” He added, however, that it was “troubling to witness a long-term union employer taking a hostile stance toward workers’ rights to express themselves freely.”


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