COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – A recent ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court allows targeted picketing by labor unions.
A state law that prohibited encouraging “targeted picketing” of public officials at their homes or private workplace in connection with a labor dispute was ruled unconstitutional.
The case came up during a 2017 contract dispute in Portage County. Following an impasse, the collective bargaining unit for The Portage County Educators Association for Developmental Disabilities filed an intent to strike notice and members started picketing about three weeks later.
Seven times in October 2017 members picketed outside the residences of six board members with the Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities, staying on the streets and sidewalks.
The board filed unfair labor practices charges with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) and the SERB found that the union violated the law and issued a cease and desist order.
The union appealed the decision and won, but the board took the case all the way up to the Ohio Supreme Court panel.
In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the law against urging the picketing of officials’ homes and businesses is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment right to free speech.
“Picketing is a form of expression, and “prohibiting speech that encourages or induces picketing necessarily chills the right to picket itself,” Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote.