Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Picket Definition:

To surround the entrance of a business or agency and encourage patrons to boycott it or to otherwise negatively call attention to it.

To object publicly, on or adjacent to the premises of a business, to a business' labor practices, goods or services.

The most common form of picketing is patrolling with signs.

Picket lines have no legal basis and are merely PR gestures. But a strong tradition exists not to cross a picket line and on that basis, they can be powerful tools.

In BCGEU, Justice Dickson of Canada's Supreme Court wrote:

"The very purpose and intent of the picket line in a labour dispute is to discourage and dissuade individuals from entering the premises which are being picketed.

"Picketing is a crucial form of collective action in the arena of labour relations. A picket line is designed to publicize the labour dispute in which the striking workers are embroiled and to mount a show of solidarity of the workers to their goal. It is an essential component of a labour relations regime founded on the right to bargain collectively and to take collective action. It represents a highly important and now constitutionally recognized form of expression in all contemporary labour disputes.... "

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