Allis-Chalmers Co. v. Iron Molders' Union No. 125

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Wisconsin
Citation150 F. 155
Decision Date11 December 1906

Turner Hunter, Pease & Turner (W. H. Timlin, of counsel), for complainant.

Rubin &amp Zabel, for defendants.

SANBORN District Judge.

The original bill was filed June 16, 1906, by complainant, a New Jersey corporation, for convenience called the company, for an injunction, against four unions of iron molders in Milwaukee and South Milwaukee, and some of their officers and members, to restrain them from obstructing complainant's business by coercion, intimidation, or violence, in a number of ways, as (1) procuring workmen to quit; (2) coercing apprentices to break their contracts of service; (3) preventing workmen from entering the company's service (4) coercing the company to discharge or not employ workmen (5) aiding any conspiracy or combination to obstruct the company's business; (6) assisting, aiding, or abetting any of such acts; (7) also restraining picketing, patrolling, or guarding the streets, gates, and approaches to the company's shops, to intimidate or coerce workmen or seekers for work, and congregating in the vicinity to intimidate or coerce workmen; (8) interfering with or molesting workmen or those seeking work; accompanying, following, talking to or going to the homes of workmen against their will, or going to their homes to intimidate them to quit work or enter employment, or intimidating or threatening their families; (9) restraining boycotting any person doing business with the company; (10) in any way menacing or obstructing the company in prosecuting its business.

The four iron molders' unions made defendants are voluntary associations of workmen, associated in the usual manner of trade unions, but doing no business in the ordinary way of buying, selling, trading, or dealing with property or money. These unions are made parties by name; all the members not being joined, nor one or more members joined as representing all the members. An answer was filed July 6, 1906, purporting to be on behalf of the four unions, and all the individual defendants. There is no statute of Wisconsin providing for bringing actions against such voluntary associations as these, except that section 2604 (Rev. St. 1898), provides that when the question is one of common or general interest to many persons, or when the parties are very numerous, one or more may sue or defend for the benefit of the whole. Union No. 125 contains about 1,000 members.

Averments of the Bill.

The bill alleges in substance as follows:

The defendant unions are members of a national organization called 'Iron Molders' Union of North America,' and subject to its constitution and rules, and the membership of the unions is made up of molders and coremakers. The defendant unions have formed a conspiracy to destroy the company's business, unless it will assent to their terms. All the defendants are members of the unions, except O'Leary, who is an officer to said National Union, and he has been aiding and advising defendants in such conspiracy. There are a large number of manufacturers in and about Milwaukee who employ iron molders and coremakers. Defendant Schwab is the business agent of the unions, and has direction and command of their members, and has acted as their agent in their negotiations with the employers.

A conference committee of the unions, composed of defendants Schwab, Hanna, Harbricht, Katzbaun, Winkler, and Morz, was authorized by the unions, and other defendants, except O'Leary, to demand certain things of the employers, to be embodied in written contracts for a definite period; the demand was made, and the company increased wages to an amount exceeding the sums demanded, but refused the other demands. Thereupon, and on May 2, 1906, defendants struck, and left the company's service, and a general molders' and coremakers' strike occurred in other shops in Milwaukee county, which is still on.

The object of the strike was the control of the employment of molders' apprentices, handy men, superintendents and assistant superintendents in Milwaukee, West Allis, and South Milwaukee, and to prevent any such mechanics from working at their trade in said cities without first becoming members of the unions. Upon the strike being inaugurated, the company's striking employes and other union coremakers and molders gathered around the company's place of business, and put in force what is commonly known as the 'system of picketing,' and began a systematic course of intimidation of the company's workmen and other foundrymen in said cities, for the purpose of preventing nonunion workers from remaining in their employment; and such workmen were stopped and warned by the pickets and other not to return to work. That the picketing is still maintained, and the defendants and their associates and other pickets have assumed a menacing and threatening attitude toward the company's workmen going and coming from their work, have assaulted and beaten some of its workmen, and pursued such course of intimidation. That the company's workmen and other foundrymen have become frightened and intimidated, and refuse to continue work unless the company furnish them with special guards or take other precaution to protect them, and some of the company's workmen who are anxious to continue work have remained away because of their fear of the pickets, strikers, and their associates, resulting in irreparable injury to the company.

The company has requested the service of other workmen, and a large number have sought its employment, but were intercepted by said defendants and their pickets and associates, and induced and coerced by threats and intimidation and unlawful persuasion not to enter such service. That defendants have entered into a conspiracy to inflict injury to the company's business, and coerce it into the execution of the agreement referred to; and, in furtherance of the conspiracy, have maintained the picketing system, causing the company's premises to be surrounded by some of the defendants and others combining with them, who have daily intercepted and approached the company's workmen and persons seeking its employment, and by threats of personal violence, assaults and batteries, intimidation, and unlawful persuasion have induced the workmen to leave their employment or refuse to take it. That the picketing system, in connection with physical violence so inflicted, has terrified the company's workmen and intimidated those seeking employment who would otherwise have entered its service, whereby the company has been deprived of the services of a large number of persons who would otherwise have entered its employment, and it has been unable to secure workmen, and greatly injured thereby. That defendants in maintaining the picketing system are acting together under the direction, instigation, and advice of O'Leary and Schwab and the officers and managers of the unions, for the common purpose of injuring the company's business and terrifying its workmen, and coercing it to execute said agreement; that defendants and others associated with them are surrounding its premises, are engaged in altercation with its employes, call them vile names such as 'scab' and other opprobrious epithets, threatening their personal safety unless they cease work, and are intimidating, terrifying, and coercing them in numerous ways, especially by following them to their homes against their will; and that some of the workmen have quit work, and others are so intimidated that they are about to do so; that the company has had, and now has, in its employment a large number of apprentices learning the molders' trade, some of whom have a long time and others a short time to work. Some of them are quite skillful mechanics, and are under contracts in the company's service. Defendants combined and conspired to induce apprentices to break their contracts, and quit the company's service, and to that end have sought interviews with the apprentices, persuading them to leave their work, made promises of emolument to them if they would do so, and offered to affiliate them in some way as members of the unions. Such efforts to induce apprentices to quit are being continued, and complainant fears that they will be successful.

Boycotts of persons contracting with the company through the United States are alleged, and the company will be unable to complete its contracts with its customers if the interference and obstruction of its business by the defendants continue, resulting in great and irreparable loss and damage to the company. The company is necessarily obliged to employ skilled mechanics other than molders and coremakers, whose employment is dependent upon the foundry product; and, if such skilled mechanics are prevented from doing their work by defendants, the company's business will be crippled and seriously injured, to its great damage. By reason of such conspiracy, the company has been prevented from carrying on its business in the ordinary way, and it is being injured by the acts of defendants. Other allegations amplifying the foregoing are contained in the bill. It charges, in addition to damages which cannot be estimated, $10,000 actual damages.

A temporary restraining order was granted upon the bill and accompanying affidavits. The defendants answered, substantially denying all the allegations of the bill relating to conspiracy, intimidation, and coercion. Upon the hearing for a preliminary injunction, it was denied on the ground that the equity of the bill was substantially denied by the defendants.

Supplemental Bill and Proceedings Thereon.

On September 11, 1906, complainants filed their supplemental bill, which, after alleging the general object and...

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