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Food Employees v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., 391 U.S. 308 (1968)

Amalgamated Food Employees Union Local 590 v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc.

No. 478

Argued March 14, 1968

Decided May 20, 1968

391 U.S. 308


Respondent Weis Markets owns and operates a supermarket in a large shopping center complex owned by respondent Logan Valley Plaza. In front of Weis' building is a covered porch and a parcel pickup zone. Members of petitioner union picketed Weis' store, confining the picketing almost entirely to the parcel pickup zone and the portion of the parking area adjacent thereto. The picketing was peaceful, with some sporadic and infrequent congestion of the parcel pickup area. A Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas enjoined "picketing and trespassing upon . . . the [Weis] storeroom, porch and parcel pick-up area . . . [and] the [Logan] parking area," thus preventing picketing inside the shopping center. That court held the injunction justified in order to protect respondents' property rights and because the picketing was unlawfully aimed at coercing Weis to compel its employees to join a union. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the issuance of the injunction on the sole ground that petitioners' conduct constituted a trespass on respondents' property.


1. Peaceful picketing carried on in a location open generally to the public is, absent other factors involving the purpose or the manner of the picketing, protected by the First Amendment. Pp. 391 U. S. 313-315.

2. Although there may be regulation of the manner in which handbilling, or picketing, is carried out, that does not mean that either can be barred under all circumstances on publicly owned property simply by recourse to traditional concepts of property law concerning the incidents of ownership of real property. Pp. 391 U. S. 315-316.

3. Since the shopping center serves as the community business block "and is freely accessible and open to the people in the area and those passing through," Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U. S. 501, 326 U. S. 508, the State may not delegate the power, through the use of trespass laws, wholly to exclude those members of the public wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights on the premises in a manner

Page 391 U. S. 309

and for a purpose generally consonant with the use to which the property is actually put. Pp. 391 U. S. 316-325.

425 Pa. 382, 227 A.2d 874, reversed and remanded.

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