The BC Supreme Court recently granted an interim injunction to a company after union members, during the course of a legal strike, illegally blocked access to the business facility.
On June 4, 2014, the union commenced a legal strike. As it is permitted to do, the company continued to operate by using management and other non-union employees to do the work of unionized staff. In response, the union set up a picket line at the main entrance to the business facility. Union members and others blocked access to the facility causing delays spanning up to three hours. The company then applied for an interim injunction, arguing the union’s actions in blocking access to the facility were illegal.
The union objected to the injunction on the basis that the company’s evidence was insufficient, and that the union’s Charter-protected right to communicate with the public ought to be the paramount consideration. The Court rejected the union’s argument, finding instead that the company had established an unassailable case that there had been illegal activity at the picket line. The judge noted the clarity of the law which deems any blockage to be illegal, per se.
This decision provides guidance to employers regarding the parameters of lawful picketing activity as well as a clear statement of the law pertaining to injunctions.
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