Jonesboro Attorney Argues Against Wal-Mart Anti-Union Ruling - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

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Jonesboro Attorney Argues Against Wal-Mart Anti-Union Ruling

June 5, 2003
Posted at: 2:11 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A union lawyer argued this morning that a judge was wrong to rule that union members were trespassing at Wal-Marts in an attempt to recruit the stores' employees.

In oral arguments, attorney Price Marshall of Jonesboro asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to overthrow the ban.

Marshall says the Bentonville-based retailer did not try to prevent the solicitation by asking union members to leave and not come back.

The high court heard arguments in the United Food and Commercial Workers International's appeal of the 2002 order by Chancery Judge Jim D. Spears of Fort Smith.

Spears granted a permanent injunction to prohibit the union from soliciting in Wal-Mart buildings and stores in the United States. Union members who violate the order could be held in contempt of court.

Wal-Mart lawyer Russell Gunter of Little Rock argued today that although Wal-Mart opened its stores to the public, it has a legal right to put parameters on those visits.

Gunter said that Wal-Mart's no-solicitation policy covers union solicitations as well and that the judge's order should carry weight in every state in the country.

The union claims that the retailer used a local judge to stifle free speech and suppress workers' rights to organize.

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