Restored to docket for reargument June 1, 1920.
Restored to docket for reargument June 6, 1921.
The American Steel Foundries is a New Jersey corporation operating a large plant for the manufacture of steel products in Granite City, Illinois. In May, 1914, it filed a bill in the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to enjoin the defendants, the Tri-City Central Trades Council, and fourteen individual defendants, some of them officers of the Council, all of them citizens of other States than New Jersey, from carrying on a conspiracy to prevent complainant from retaining and obtaining skilled laborers to operate its plant. The bill charged that the conspiracy was being executed by organized picketing, accompanied by threats, intimidation and violence toward persons employed or seeking employment there. The defendants in their answer admitted that the Central Trades Council had established a picket upon streets leading to the plant, with instructions to notify all persons entering it that a strike had been called because of reduction of wages, and to use all honorable means to persuade such persons not to take the places of the men on the strike; admitted the participation of individual defendants in the picketing, but denied threats of injury or violence or responsibility for the violence that admittedly had occurred. After replication was filed, the cause was heard. A restraining order issued on filing of the bill, and a final decree was entered by which defendants were "perpetually restrained and enjoined from in any way or manner whatsoever by use of persuasion, threats, or personal injury, intimidation, suggestion of danger or threats of violence of any kind, from interfering with, hindering, obstructing or stopping, any person engaged in the employ of the American Steel Foundries in connection with its business or its foundry in the City of
"Eighth. Because the complainant was not entitled to an injunction prohibiting the defendants while on the streets of Granite City or while in proximity to such foundry, from trying to persuade strike breakers from taking the places of the strikers.
"Ninth. Because the complainant was not entitled to an injunction prohibiting the defendants from stopping employees of complainant and suggesting to them that they should not work at such plant while a strike was on.
"Tenth. Because the complainant was not entitled to an injunction prohibiting the defendants from assembling, or congregating, in proximity of said foundry, or on the streets leading to such foundry.
"Eleventh. Because the complainant was not entitled to an injunction prohibiting the defendants from placing any picket, or pickets, upon the streets leading to such foundry, whose duty it was to notify those entering said foundry that there was a strike on."
The Circuit Court of Appeals modified the final decree by striking out the word "persuasion" in the four places in which it occurred, and by inserting after the clause restraining picketing the following: "in a threatening or intimidating manner." 238 Fed. 728.
The Tri-City Central Trades Council is a labor organization composed of representatives of thirty-seven trade unions of Granite City, Madison and Venice, adjoining towns in Illinois, including among them electricians, cranemen, mill hands, machinists, and stationary engineers. In April, 1914, the complainant, which ordinarily in full operation employed 1600 men, and whose plant had been shut down since November of the previous year, resumed operations with about 350 of its regular men, 150 of whom belonged to the skilled trades, electricians,
Complainant's plant was in an enclosure of twenty-five acres and fronted on Niedringhaus Avenue. The Wabash and other railroads crossed this street and ran along the side of the plant. There were four tracks. The time keeper's gate of the plant opened on to the tracks. Directly opposite on the other side of the tracks was the Wabash depot, from three to four hundred feet from the
There was an assault on April 30th, in which one Hafner, an employee, was attacked by three of the picketers. On May 8th, a man named Crabtree and four other employees were attacked by a group of more than seven of the pickets. On May 13th, another assault occurred, which developed into a mob, and two witnesses for complainant swore positively that the President of the Trades Council, Galloway, was engaged in this disturbance and was throwing bricks. There were other assaults, the last one on May 18th before the restraining order issued that day reached the picketers. Officers of the company testified that a number of men wounded in these assaults
Galloway testified he was present at the plant three mornings for about fifteen or twenty minutes, and four or five evenings for maybe half an hour; that he engaged in no violence while he was there and saw none; that the representatives of the Central Trades were there doing picket duty, and that the closest he saw them to the plant was 20 feet in front of Wabash depot; that the Central Trades did not instruct anybody to assault anyone, but told them to picket the streets leading to the plant, and ask the men not to go into the plant or take work under the reduced wages. He said that the pickets were selected from the different crafts interested in the wages; that the joint board of the Council placed the pickets where they were, and the Council then sanctioned this action. He said he went down there to see that things were going right; that they placed the pickets there to prevent, if possible, the men from entering and working at the plant until they arbitrated the difference or advanced their wages to the former scale; that the pickets were not authorized to commit an unlawful act.
B.F. Lamb, already referred to, visited Granite City because he had a local union there affiliated with the Tri-City Trades Council. He went there three times a week during the strike, and did picket duty. He was on the picket line itself, which was about 100 or 120 yards from the plant. Pickets were merely there to convey information and ask cooperation. He denied that they authorized any assaults and he saw no assaulting. He heard of some fights which took place away from the plant, but he was in no way connected with them.
Hartbeck, who was business agent and secretary of the Blacksmith's Union, said that he acted on the picket line every time he went over there, sometimes in the evening, sometimes at noon time. He said the pickets would approach
Harry McKenny, a picket, testified that he did assault one of the fellows there; that he, Churchill and another picket, were standing together, and that he told a man named Hafner, an employee, to stay away from the building; that Hafner called him an insulting and profane name, and said he would work where he pleased, and that then he hit Hafner; that he never tried to stop anybody from going into the plant by force; that he did hit Hafner while he was on the picket line; that he did not hit him because he was going into the works, but just because he called him a bad name.
Churchill, a striker and picket, said he "never struck a man over there; merely warned them, asked them to stay out of there; better keep away." He said that he was present when Hafner was hit by McKenny for calling him a bad name, that Hafner begged them not to hit him again, but McKenny hit him twice. Then Hafner said he was going home. Churchill said he was present when the porter from the plant was bringing in two lunch baskets, that someone kicked the baskets out of the porter's hands. Churchill said he was in the "bunch" standing there but he did not know who the man was
Ishman, another picketer, said he was a craneman and resided at Granite City; that he was a member of the Cranemen's Union, that he did picket duty during the strike, that he was there quite a bit morning and evening; that the duty of the pickets was to inform the employees of the plant that there was a strike on and to inform them of the conditions under which they were working. He said that on May 8th, Crabtree, an employee, and four other employees, were coming across the railroad tracks from their work; that they had seven pickets there. He said they got to talking to them and somebody started a fight; he said somebody made a pass at him and that he hit somebody. He said they claimed it was Crabtree; that it was 150 yards from the plant.
Cook, a defendant who was not a union man, went out with the strike. He said he left because he did not like his wages, and quit because there was a strike on. Nobody sent him there as a picket, but he joined them, and they were all together picketing and talking to some men going to or coming from work. He said he wanted to quit work and did not want anybody else to work in his place.
It is clear from the evidence that from the outset, violent methods were pursued from time to time in such a way as to characterize the attitude of the picketers as continuously threatening. A number of employees, sometimes fifteen or more, slept in the plant for a week during the trouble, because they could not safely go to their homes. The result of the campaign was to put employees and would-be employees in such fear that many abandoned work and this seriously interfered with the complainant in operating the plant until the issue of the restraining order.
Section 20 is as follows:
"That no restraining order or injunction shall be granted by any court of the United States, or a judge or the judges thereof, in any case between an employer and employees, or between employers and employees, or between employees, or between persons employed and persons seeking employment, involving, or growing out of, a dispute concerning terms or conditions of employment, unless necessary to prevent irreparable injury to property, or to a property right, of the party making the application, for which injury there is no adequate remedy at law, and such property or property right must be described with particularity in the application, which must be in writing and sworn to by the applicant or by his agent or attorney.
It has been determined by this court that the irreparable injury to property or to a property right, in the first paragraph of § 20, includes injury to the business of an employer, and that the second paragraph applies only in cases growing out of a dispute concerning terms or conditions of employment, between an employer and employee, between employers and employees, or between employees, or between persons employed and persons seeking employment, and not to such dispute between an employer and persons who are neither ex-employees nor seeking employment. Duplex Printing Press Co. v. Deering, 254 U.S. 443. Only two of the defendants, Cook and Churchill, who left at the time of the strike, can invoke in their behalf § 20. We must, therefore, first consider the propriety of the decree as against them, and then as against the other defendants.
The object and problem of Congress in § 20, and indeed of courts of equity before its enactment, was to reconcile the rights of the employer in his business and in the access of his employees to his place of business and egress therefrom without intimidation or obstruction, on the one hand, and the right of the employees, recent or expectant, to use peaceable and lawful means to induce present employees and would-be employees to join their ranks, on the other. If, in their attempts at persuasion or communication with those whom they would enlist with them, those of the labor side adopt methods which however lawful in their announced purpose inevitably lead to intimidation and obstruction, then it is the court's duty which the terms of § 20 do not modify, so to limit what
How far may men go in persuasion and communication and still not violate the right of those whom they would influence? In going to and from work, men have a right to as free a passage without obstruction as the streets afford, consistent with the right of others to enjoy the same privilege. We are a social people and the accosting by one of another in an inoffensive way and an offer by one to communicate and discuss information with a view to influencing the other's action are not regarded as aggression or a violation of that other's rights. If, however, the offer is declined, as it may rightfully be, then persistence, importunity, following and dogging become unjustifiable annoyance and obstruction which is likely soon to savor of intimidation. From all of this the person sought to be influenced has a right to be free and his employer has a right to have him free.
The nearer this importunate intercepting of employees or would-be employees is to the place of business, the greater the obstruction and interference with the business and especially with the property right of access of the employer. Attempted discussion and argument of this kind in such proximity is certain to attract attention and congregation of the curious, or, it may be, interested bystanders, and thus to increase the obstruction as well as the aspect of intimidation which the situation quickly assumes. In the present case the three or four groups of picketers, were made up of from four to twelve in a group. They constituted the picket lines. Each union interested, electricians, cranemen, machinists and blacksmiths, had several representatives on the picket line, and assaults and violence ensued. They began early and continued from time to time during the three weeks of the strike
A restraining order against picketing will advise earnest advocates of labor's cause that the law does not look with favor on an enforced discussion of the merits of the issue between individuals who wish to work, and groups of those who do not, under conditions which subject the individuals who wish to work to a severe test of their nerve and physical strength and courage. But while this is so, we must have every regard to the congressional intention manifested in the act and to the principle of existing law which it declared, that ex-employees and others properly acting with them shall have an opportunity, so far as is consistent with peace and law, to observe who are still working for the employer, to communicate with them and to persuade them to join the ranks of his opponents in a lawful economic struggle. Regarding as primary the rights of the employees to work for whom they will, and, undisturbed by annoying importunity or intimidation of numbers, to go freely to and from their place of labor, and keeping in mind the right of the employer incident to his property and business to free access of such employees, what can be done to reconcile the conflicting interests?
Each case must turn on its own circumstances. It is a case for the flexible remedial power of a court of equity which may try one mode of restraint, and if it fails or proves to be too drastic, may change it. We think that the strikers and their sympathizers engaged in the economic struggle should be limited to one representative for each point of ingress and egress in the plant or place of business and that all others be enjoined from congregating or loitering at the plant or in the neighboring streets by which access is had to the plant, that such representatives should have the right of observation, communication
With these views, it is apparent that we can not sustain the qualification of the order of the District Court which the Circuit Court of Appeals made. That court followed the case of Iron Molders' Union v. Allis-Chalmers Co., 166 Fed. 45, and modified the order of the District Court which enjoins defendants "from picketing or maintaining at or near the premises of the complainant, or on the streets leading to the premises of said complainant, any picket or pickets" by adding the words "in a threatening or intimidating manner." This qualification seems to us to be inadequate. In actual result, it leaves compliance largely to the discretion of the pickets. It ignores the necessary element of intimidation in the presence of groups as pickets. It does not secure practically that which the court must secure and to which the complainant and his workmen are entitled. The phrase really recognizes as legal that which bears the sinister name of "picketing" which it is to be observed Congress carefully refrained from using in § 20.
There remains to consider, so far as defendants Churchill and Cook, the ex-employees, are concerned, the
The second important question in the case is as to the form of decree against the Tri-City Trades Council and the other defendants. What has been said as to picketing applies to them, of course, as fully as to the ex-employees, but how as to the injunction against persuasion?
The argument made on behalf of the American Foundries in support of enjoining persuasion is that the Tri-City Central Trades Council and the other defendants being neither employees nor strikers were intruders into the controversy, and were engaged without excuse in an unlawful conspiracy to injure the American Foundries by enticing its employees, and, therefore, should be enjoined.
It is to be noted, that while there was only one member of the unions of the Trades Council who went out in the strike, the number of skilled employees then engaged by the Foundries was not one-quarter of the whole number of men who would be engaged when it was in full operation. The works manager said that eighty or ninety per cent. of the employees were old men and that he assumed these men were members of various organizations. Other witnesses, members of the unions, testified that they had been employees of complainant in the previous fall. It is thus probable that members of the local unions were looking forward to employment when complainant should resume full operation and even though they were not ex-employees within the Clayton Act, they were directly interested in the wages which were to be paid.
Is interference of a labor organization by persuasion and appeal to induce a strike against low wages under
The elements essential to sustain actions for persuading employees to leave an employer are first, the malice or absence of lawful excuse, and, second, the actual injury. The effect of cases cited as authority must be determined by an examination of the pleadings and facts to see how the malice or lack of lawful excuse was established, and whether there was not illegality present in the means used. Thus Walker v. Cronin, 107 Mass. 555, and Thacker Coal Co. v. Burke, 59 W.Va. 253, suits by an employer against members of a labor union in which the right of action for persuading was sustained, were heard on demurrer to the complaint. The element of malice was supplied by averment of the complaint, and was, of course, admitted by the demurrer. There are other cases in which the persuasion was accompanied by the intent to secure a breach of contract, or was part of a secondary boycott or had elements of fraud, misrepresentation or intimidation in it. Perkins v. Pendleton, 90 Me. 166, was a case of the latter kind. In Lucke v. Clothing Cutters, 77 Md. 396, it was held unlawful in a labor union to seek to compel an employer to discharge the plaintiff by intimidation, and it was said that the state law authorizing formation of trade unions to secure most favorable conditions for labor of their members was not a warrant for making war upon the non-union man or for illegal interference with his rights and privileges. A suit by an employee who seeks to hold a labor union liable for seeking his discharge by threatening to strike unless his employer discharges him, stands on a different footing from a mere effort by a labor union to persuade employees to leave their employment. There are in such a combination against an employee the suggestions of coercion, attempted monopoly, deprivation of livelihood and remoteness of the legal purpose of the union to better its members'
The counsel for the Steel Foundries rely on two cases in this court to support their contention. The first is that of Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, 245 U.S. 229. The principle followed in the Hitchman Case can not be invoked here. There the action was by a coal mining company of West Virginia against the officers of an International Labor Union and others to enjoin them from carrying out a plan to bring the employees of the complainant company and all the West Virginia mining companies into the International Union, so that the Union could control, through the union employees, the production and sale of coal in West Virginia, in competition with the mines of Ohio and other States. The plan thus projected was carried out in the case of the complainant company by the use of deception and misrepresentation with its non-union employees, by seeking to induce such employees to become members of the Union contrary to the express term of their contract of employment that they would not remain in complainant's employ if union men, and after enough such employees had been secretly secured, suddenly to declare a strike against complainant and to leave it in a helpless situation in which it would have to consent to be unionized. This court held that the purpose was not lawful, and that the means were not lawful and that the defendants were thus engaged in an unlawful conspiracy which should be enjoined. The unlawful and deceitful means used were quite enough to sustain the decision of the court without more. The statement of the purpose of the plan is sufficient to show the remoteness of the benefit ultimately to be derived by
Duplex Printing Press Co. v. Deering, 254 U.S. 443, also cited, can have no bearing here. In that case, the International Association of Machinists, an unincorporated association, having a membership of more than 60,000, united in a combination to compel the complainant to unionize its factory, enforce the closed shop, the eight-hour day and the union scale of wages by boycotting the interstate trade of that company. They conducted in the City of New York a campaign of threatening the customers of the Printing Press Company, the trucking companies that carried its presses, and those who were engaged in the work of setting up such presses, with injury to them in their business, if they continued to deal with the Duplex Company or its presses. It was a palpable effort on the part of the International Association of Machinists to institute a secondary boycott, that is, by coercion, to use the right of trade of persons having nothing to do with the controversy between the Duplex Company and the Machinist's Union, and having no interest in it, to injure the Duplex Company in its interstate trade. This was decided not to be within § 20 of the Clayton Act, but was held, following the case of Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, to be an unlawful combination in restraint of interstate trade. The Hitchman Case was cited in the Duplex Case, but there is nothing in the ratio decidendi of either which limits our conclusion here or which requires us to hold that the members of a local labor union and the union itself do not have sufficient interest in the wages paid to the employees of any employer in the community to justify their use of lawful and peaceable persuasion to induce those employees to refuse to accept such reduced wages
The decree of the Circuit Court of Appeals is reversed in part and affirmed in part and the case is remanded to the District Court for modification of its decree in conformity with this opinion.
MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS concurs in substance in the opinion and the judgment of the court.
MR. JUSTICE CLARKE dissents.