United States v. Hutcheson, No. 43

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation61 S.Ct. 463,85 L.Ed. 788,312 U.S. 219
Decision Date03 February 1941
Docket NumberNo. 43
PartiesUNITED STATES v. HUTCHESON et al

312 U.S. 219
61 S.Ct. 463
85 L.Ed. 788
UNITED STATES

v.

HUTCHESON et al.

No. 43.
Argued Dec. 10, 1940.
Decided Feb. 3, 1941.

Page 220

Messrs. Robert H. Jackson, Atty. Gen., and Thurman W. Arnold, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 220-224 intentionally omitted]

Page 225

Mr. Charles H. Tuttle, of New York City, for appellees.

[Argument of Counsel from Pages 225-226 intentionally omitted]

Page 227

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Whether the use of conventional, peaceful activities by a union in controversy with a rival union over certain jobs is a violation of the Sherman Law, Act of July 2, 1890, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 1, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1, is the question. It is sharply presented in this case because it arises in a criminal prosecution. Concededly an injunction either at the suit of the Government or of the employer could not issue.

Summarizing the long indictment, these are the facts. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., operating a large plant in St. Louis, contracted with Borsari Tank Corporation for the erection of an additional facility. The Gaylord Container Corporation, a lessee of adjacent property from Anheuser-Busch, made a similar contract for a new building with the Stocker Company. Anheuser-Busch obtained the

Page 228

materials for its brewing and other operations and sold its finished products largely through interstate shipments. The Gaylord Corporation was equally dependent on interstate commerce for marketing its goods, as were the construction companies for their building materials. Among the employees of Anheuser-Busch were members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and of the International Association of Machinists. The conflicting claims of these two organizations, affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, in regard to the erection and dismantling of machinery had long been a source of controversy between them. Anheuser-Busch had had agreements with both organizations whereby the Machinists were given the disputed jobs and the Carpenters agreed to submit all disputes to arbitration. But in 2939 the president of the Carpenters, their general representative, and two officials of the Carpenters' local organization, the four men under indictment, stood on the claims of the Carpenters for the jobs. Rejection by the employer of the Carpenters' demand and the refusal of the latter to submit to arbitration were followed by a strike of the Carpenters, called by the defendants against Anheuser-Busch and the construction companies, a picketing of Anheuser-Busch and its tenant, and a request through circular letters and the official publication of the Carpenters that union members and their friends refrain from buying Anheuser-Busch beer.

These activities on behalf of the Carpenters formed the charge of the indictment as a criminal combination and conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Law. Demurrers denying that what was charged constituted a violation of the laws of the United States were sustained (D.C., 32 F.Supp. 600) and the case came here under the Criminal Appeals Act. Act of March 2, 1907, 34 Stat. 1246, 18 U.S.C. § 682, 18 U.S.C.A. § 682; Judicial Code § 238, 28 U.S.C. § 345, 28 U.S.C.A. § 345.

Page 229

In order to determine whether an indictment charges an offense against the United States, designation by the pleader of the statute under which he purported to lay the charge is immaterial. He may have conceived the charge under one statute which would not sustain the indictment, but it may nevertheless come within the terms of another statute. See Williams v. United States, 168 U.S. 382, 18 S.Ct. 92, 42 L.Ed. 509. On the other hand, an indictment may validly satisfy the statute under which the pleader proceeded, but other statutes not referred to by him may draw the sting of criminality from the allegations. Here we must consider not merely the Sherman Law but the related enactments which entered into the decision of the district court.

Section 1 of the Sherman Law on which the indictment rested is as follows: 'Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal.' The controversies engendered by its application to trade union activities and the efforts to secure legislative relief from its consequences are familiar history. The Clayton Act of 1914 was the result. Act of October 15, 1914, 38 Stat. 730. 'This statute was the fruit of unceasing agitation, which extended over more than 20 years and was designed to equalize before the law the position of workingmen and employer as industrial combatants.' Duplex Printing Press Co. v. Deering, 254 U.S. 443, 484, 41 S.Ct. 172, 182, 65 L.Ed. 349, 16 A.L.R. 196. Section 20 of that Act, which is set out in the margin in full,1 with-

Page 230

drew from the general interdict of the Sherman Law specifically enumerated practices of labor unions by prohibiting injunctions against them—since the use of the injunction had been the major source of dissatisfaction—and also relieved such practices of all illegal taint by the catch-all provision, 'nor shall any of the acts specified in this paragraph be considered or held to be violations of any law of the United States'. The Clayton Act gave rise to new litigation and to renewed controversy in and out of Congress regarding the status of trade unions. By the generality of its terms the Sherman Law had necessarily compelled the courts to work out its meaning from case to case. It was widely believed that into the Clayton Act courts read the very beliefs which that Act was designed to remove. Specifically the courts restricted the scope of § 20 to trade union activities directed against an employer by his own employees. Duplex Printing Press Co. v. Deer-

Page 231

ing, supra. Such a view it was urged, both by powerful judicial dissents and informed lay opinion, misconceived the area of economic conflict that had best be left to economic forces and the pressure of public opinion and not subjected to the judgment of courts. Id., 254 U.S. at page 485, 486, 41 S.Ct. at page 183, 65 L.Ed. 349, 16 A.L.R. 196. Agitation again led to legislation and in 1932 Congress wrote the Norris-LaGuardia Act. Act of March 23, 1932, 47 Stat. 70, 29 U.S.C. §§ 101—115, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 101—115.

The Norris-LaGuardia Act removed the fetters upon trade union activities, which according to judicial construction § 20 of the Clayton Act had left untouched, by still further narrowing the circumstances under which the federal courts could grant injunctions in labor disputes. More especially, the Act explicitly formulated the 'public policy of the United States' in regard to the industrial conflict,2 and by its light established that the allowable area of union activity was not to be restricted, as it had been in the Duplex case, to an immediate employer-employee relation. Therefore, whether trade union conduct constitutes a violation of the Sherman Law is to be determined only by reading the Sherman Law and § 20 of the Clayton Act and the Norris-LaGuardia Act as a harmonizing text of outlawry of labor conduct.

Page 232

Were then the acts charged against the defendants prohibited or permitted by these three interlacing statutes? If the facts laid in the indictment come within the conduct enumerated in § 20 of the Clayton Act they do not constitute a crime within the general terms of the Sherman Law because of the explicit command of that section that such conduct shall not be 'considered or held to be violations of any law of the United States'. So long as a union acts in its self-interest and does not combine with non-labor groups,3 the licit and the illicit under § 20 are not to be distinguished by any judgment regarding the wisdom or unwisdom, the rightness or wrongness, the selfishness or unselfishness of the end of which the particular union activities are the means. There is nothing remotely within the terms of § 20 that differentiates between trade union conduct directed against an employer because of a controversy arising in the relation between employer and employee, as such, and conduct similarly directed but ultimately due to an internecine struggle between two unions seeking the favor of the same employer. Such strife between competing unions has been an obdurate conflict in the evolution of so-called craft unionism and has undoubtedly been one of the potent forces in the modern development of industrial unions. These conflicts have intensified industrial tension but there is not the slightest warrant for saying that Congress has made § 20 inapplicable to trade union conduct resulting from them.

In so far as the Clayton Act is concerned, we must therefore dispose of this case as though we had before us precisely the same conduct on the part of the defendants in pressing claims against Anheuser-Busch for in-

Page 233

creased wages, or shorter hours, or other elements of what are called working conditions. The fact that what was done was done in a competition for jobs against the Machinists rather than against, let us say, a company union is a differentiation which Congress has not put into the federal legislation and which therefore we cannot write into it.

It is at once apparent that the acts with which the defendants are charged are the kind of acts protected by § 20 of the Clayton Act. The refusal of the Carpenters to work for Anheuser-Busch or on construction work being done for it and its adjoining tenant, and the peaceful attempt to get members of other unions similarly to refuse to work, are plainly within the free scope accorded to workers by § 20 for 'terminating any relation of employment', or 'ceasing to perform any work or labor', or 'recommending, advising or persuading others by peaceful means so to do'. The picketing of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
396 practice notes
  • Brewer v. Hoxie School District No. 46, No. 15510.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • October 25, 1956
    ...Cir., 163 F. 30, 18 L.R.A.,N.S., 1194; Keifer & Keifer v. R. F. C., 306 U.S. 381, 59 S.Ct. 516, 83 L.Ed. 784; United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 61 S.Ct. 463, 85 L.Ed. 788; South & Central American Commercial Co. v. Panama R. Co., 237 N.Y. 287, 142 N.E. 666; The Arizona v. Anelich, 2......
  • U.S. v. Gordon, Nos. CA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 16, 1981
    ...18 S.Ct. 92, 94, 42 L.Ed. 509 (1897). The reasoning of Williams was reaffirmed in the Court's 1941 decision of United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 229, 61 S.Ct. 463, 464-65, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941), 11 and has been consistently followed by this Court. See United States v. Clizer, 464 F.2d......
  • Burlington Northern Railroad Company v. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, No. 86-39
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 28, 1987
    ...the Clayton Act but which was frustrated, so Congress believed, by unduly restrictive judicial construction." United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 235-236, 61 S.Ct. 463, 468, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941). Representative LaGuardia's description of the need for the Act is typical of those offered......
  • INTERNATIONAL ASS'N, ETC. v. UNITED CONTRACTORS, ETC., No. 71-1947.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • July 17, 1973
    ...to neutralize the results envisioned by the other." The test for reconciling them was expressed earlier in United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 232, 61 S.Ct. 463, 466, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1940), as "So long as a union acts in its self-interest and does not combine with nonlabor groups, footn......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
389 cases
  • Brewer v. Hoxie School District No. 46, No. 15510.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • October 25, 1956
    ...Cir., 163 F. 30, 18 L.R.A.,N.S., 1194; Keifer & Keifer v. R. F. C., 306 U.S. 381, 59 S.Ct. 516, 83 L.Ed. 784; United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 61 S.Ct. 463, 85 L.Ed. 788; South & Central American Commercial Co. v. Panama R. Co., 237 N.Y. 287, 142 N.E. 666; The Arizona v. Anelich, 2......
  • U.S. v. Gordon, Nos. CA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 16, 1981
    ...18 S.Ct. 92, 94, 42 L.Ed. 509 (1897). The reasoning of Williams was reaffirmed in the Court's 1941 decision of United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 229, 61 S.Ct. 463, 464-65, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941), 11 and has been consistently followed by this Court. See United States v. Clizer, 464 F.2d......
  • Burlington Northern Railroad Company v. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, No. 86-39
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 28, 1987
    ...the Clayton Act but which was frustrated, so Congress believed, by unduly restrictive judicial construction." United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 235-236, 61 S.Ct. 463, 468, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941). Representative LaGuardia's description of the need for the Act is typical of those offered......
  • INTERNATIONAL ASS'N, ETC. v. UNITED CONTRACTORS, ETC., No. 71-1947.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • July 17, 1973
    ...to neutralize the results envisioned by the other." The test for reconciling them was expressed earlier in United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 232, 61 S.Ct. 463, 466, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1940), as "So long as a union acts in its self-interest and does not combine with nonlabor groups, footn......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 books & journal articles
  • ANTITRUST ANTITEXTUALISM.
    • United States
    • January 1, 2021
    ...the Sherman Act, section 20 of the Clayton Act, and the Norris-LaGuardia Act read as a "harmonizing text of outlawry of labor conduct." 312 U.S. 219, 231 (1941). Such interpretive harmonization may be plausible as to section 20 and Norris-LaGuardia, but no post-1914 statute has amended or i......
  • Labor's Antitrust Problem: A Case for Worker Welfare.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 130 Nbr. 2, November 2020
    • November 1, 2020
    ...(6.) 29 U.S.C. [section] 157 (2018). (7.) 15 U.S.C. [section] 17 (2018); see also United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 232 (1941) (discussing the "explicit command" of the antitrust statutes exempting "trade union conduct directed against an employer"); Taylor v. Local No. 7, Int'l Uni......
  • The per Se Legality of Some Naked Restraints: A [re]Conceptualization of the Antitrust Analysis of Cartelistic Organizations
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 45-2, June 2000
    • June 1, 2000
    ...Tariff Bur., 476 U.S. 409 (1986).95 Labor law examples include Apex Hosiery v. Leader, 310 U.S.469 (1940); United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219 (1941); Brown v.Pro Football, Inc., 518 U.S. 231 (1996). Securities law examples include:Gordonv. New York Stock Exchange, 422 U.S. 659 (1975);......
  • Sports, Antitrust Enforcement and Collective Bargaining
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 54-4, December 2009
    • December 1, 2009
    ...and the Public Interest, 4 J. SPORTSECON. 318 (2003).4This exemption arose out of a Supreme Court decision in United Statesv. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219 (1941). For further discussion of this decision andthe relationship between antitrust law and collective bargaining, see MichaelS. Jacobs & R......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT