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Top court ruling upholds free speech, union lawyer says



Published: Wed, October 23, 2013 @ 7:30 p.m.

Unionized Ohio public employees now can exercise free speech on the same basis as everyone else, union lawyer says.

Union lawyer says

top court ruling upholds free speech

COLUMBUS

The Ohio Supreme Court delivered a major victory for labor unions when it ruled in a Mahoning County case.

The court ruled that a state law requiring a union to give a public employer and the State Employment Relations Board 10 days advance notice of strike picketing does not apply to informational picketing.

The case arose from a unanimous June 2012 decision by a three-judge panel of the Youngstown-based 7th District Court of Appeals that a 10-day notice requirement for informational picketing violates free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case stems from peaceful informational picketing without 10 days’ advance notice by the Mahoning Education Association of Developmental Disabilities outside a Nov. 5, 2007, Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities meeting in Austintown while the union and the board negotiated a new contract.

MEADD represents teaching and nonteaching employees of the board.

“This is a very significant decision,” Ira Mirkin, a Youngstown lawyer who represents MEADD, said of Wednesday’s ruling. Unionized Ohio public employees can now “exercise their right to free speech on the same basis as anyone else who wants to speak out,” he added.


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