265 U.S. 457 (1924), 233, United Leather Workers International Union, Local Lodge

Docket Nº:No. 233
Citation:265 U.S. 457, 44 S.Ct. 623, 68 L.Ed. 1104
Party Name:United Leather Workers International Union, Local Lodge
Case Date:June 09, 1924
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 457

265 U.S. 457 (1924)

44 S.Ct. 623, 68 L.Ed. 1104

United Leather Workers International Union, Local Lodge

No. 233

United States Supreme Court

June 9, 1924

or Union No. 66 v. Herkert & Meisel Trunk Company

Argued April 24, 25, 1924




1. A strike by employees, intended to prevent through illegal picketing and intimidation of workers the continued manufacture of goods by their employer and having that effect, is not a conspiracy to restrain interstate commerce within the Anti-Trust Act, even though the strikers know that the products when made are to be shipped in interstate commerce to fill orders already received and accepted from the employer's customers in other states, provided there be no actual or attempted interference with the free transport of the products, when manufactured, from the factory to their destination in other states or with their sale in those states. United Mine Workers v. Coronado Co., 259 U.S. 344. P. 464.

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2. The mere reduction of the supply of an article to be shipped in interstate commerce by illegal and tortious prevention of its manufacture is ordinarily an indirect and remote obstruction to that commerce; it is only when the intent or the necessary effect is to enable those preventing the manufacture to monopolize the supply, control prices, or discriminate as between would-be purchasers that the unlawful interference can be said directly to burden interstate commerce. P. 471.

284 F. 446 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a final decree of the district court, granting an injunction in a suit by divers manufacturers of trunks and leather goods against striking employees and labor unions.

Page 461

TAFT, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

This suit was begun by a bill in equity filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by the Herkert & Meisel Trunk Company and four others, all corporations of Missouri, engaged in making trunks and leather goods in St. Louis, against the United Leather Workers' Union, Local Lodge No. 66, an unincorporated association, its officers and agents, and a number of its members. The bill averred that each of the complainants had built up a valuable business in making, selling, and shipping in interstate commerce trunks and leather goods; that each received large quantities of raw material by interstate commerce, and employed a large

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number of persons, men and girls; that, on February 28, 1920, defendants demanded that their shops be unionized and conducted as closed shops, and announced that, if complainants refused, they would ruin the interstate commerce business of each of them; that, on April 10, 1920, the defendants, acting individually and on behalf of the defendant union, in order to destroy the complainants' business and to prevent their employees from continuing in their employment unless complainants would yield to their demands, began a strike, assaulted and threatened complainants' employees, and intimidated them so as to force them against their wills to quit complainants' employment, and that they thereby prevented complainants from engaging in and carrying on their interstate business and interfered and obstructed them in manufacture and shipment of the products of their factories sold to be shipped in interstate commerce. The bill charged that defendants were carrying out their illegal conspiracy and purposes by mass picketing and intimidation; that the interference with complainants' interstate commerce was intentional and malicious, and was intended to destroy it; that it was in violation of the Anti-Trust Law and the Clayton Act, and that they had already inflicted, and unless restrained would continue to inflict, irreparable injury upon such business. The bill shows that each complainant's damage threatened exceeded three thousand dollars. The prayer was for a temporary and then a final injunction to prevent the intimidation, illegal picketing, and other interference with complainants' manufacturing and interstate business and with its employees or would-be employees engaged in carrying it on. Certain of the defendants answered the bill and denied the picketing, intimidation, and violence and the purpose to interfere with complainants' interstate business as charged, and averred that they and the fellow members of the union had lawfully quit the employment of complainants

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because they could not agree upon the terms of a new agreement. The district court, upon preliminary hearing, granted a temporary injunction, and, upon final hearing, granted a final decree enjoining defendants as prayed. The case was taken on appeal to the circuit court of appeals, where the decree of the district court was affirmed, one judge dissenting. 284 F. 446. The cause now comes before us on appeal under § 241, Judicial Code.

The evidence adduced before the district court showed that the defendant, the Local Union No. 66 of the United Leather Workers, having declared a strike against the complainants and withdrawn its members from their employ, instituted an illegal picketing campaign of intimidation against their employees who were willing to remain and against others willing to take the places of the striking employees, that the effect of this campaign was to prevent the complainants from continuing to manufacture their goods needed to fill the orders they had received from regular customers and would-be purchasers in other states...

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