DES MOINES, IOWA — A Polk County judge has ruled against John Deere in their request to limit picketing by striking employees outside their gates, allowing the protests to continue.
The company requested the injunction last week, asking a judge to limit the number of picketers allowed outside the plant. They argued that the picketers were interfering with traffic into the plant and intruding on private property. Attorneys representing the UAW employees said that all of the picketing activities were in line with federal labor laws. On Tuesday the judge agreed.
In his ruling, Judge Paul D. Scott says that John Deere failed to show that the picketing activities, even if illegal, would cause them irreparable harm – a prerequisite for an injunction to be ordered. He also writes that John Deere has other legal avenues they could pursue to deal with these issues. That includes calling police to report illegal activity or taking the issue up with the National Labor Relations Board – the federal organization that exists to assist in labor disputes.
Attorney Mark Hedberg, who represented the UAW Local 450 in court, released this statement after the judge’s order: “The decision from the Polk County District Court reaffirms what the union has been saying all along: these are orderly picketing activities that are legally protected by the National Labor Relations Act and
the First Amendment. It is unfortunate that Deere has tried to use state court intervention to disrupt
and control the union’s right to engage in picketing, but we are encouraged that the court saw through
that effort and ultimately protected the union’s rights.”