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COLORADO. A curious case, intimately connected with the subject of this report, was heard in the courts of this State. A complaint was filed in the district court of Arapahoe County by the Silver State Council, No. 1, American Order of Steam Engineers, and the prayer contained therein reads as follows:
That an injunction issue out of this honorable court enjoining, restraining, and prohibiting the above-named defendants, each and all of them, and their said organizations, their servants, agents, and employees, both as individuals and organizations, in any manner interfering with or trying by threats, boycotts, strikes, or intimidations to break up and destroy, or cause the resignation of any member by threats, boycotts, strikes, or intimidations, of Silver State Council, No. 1, American Order of Steam Engineers, plaintiff herein, or by strikes, boycotts, or any other threats to compel it or its members to throw up its certificate, articles, or charter of incorporation or organization, or to in any manner interfere with the rights and privileges of Silver State Council, No. 1, of the American Order of Steam Engineers, plaintiff herein, or its right to exist and enjoy its rights, privileges, and freedom under the laws under which it was created; for costs herein expended, and will ever pray.
The complaint further stated that the plaintiff was a nonstriking labor organization; that the defendants were members of certain labor organizations which were formed for the purpose of enforcing the rights of their several component parts by ordering a strike against all other organizations, employers, or individuals against whom it or they may have a grievance, and can not enforce their rights upon which they base their demands," and whose objects were to compel all stationary steam engineers to join their order and to resort to force by boycotting anyone who employs stationary steam engineers not members of said organization."
Said complaint also alleged that in March, 1892, the plaintiff organization was admitted into and became a member of the Trades and Labor Assembly, one of the defendant organizations, and that in April, 1893, it was expelled from that body because its charter, constitution, and by-laws declared that it was a nonstriking organization, and that its expulsion was in pursuance of a conspiracy among certain of the defendants who had since its expulsion been constantly endear. oring to destroy and exterminate it. Some instances were given in which it was attempted to compel engineers belonging to the plaintiff organization to join the other unions, or to procure their discharge from employment by threatening to “boycott” and “levy strikes against” their employers.
The court, after a hearing, refused to issue the injunction, and the case was appealed to the court of appeals of the State. Its decision, sustaining the action of the lower court, was rendered November 11, 1895, and the following language was used in its opinion:
The plaintiff is a corporation, and to entitle it to relief, it must appear that its corporate rights are threatened with some injury of a kind which may be made the subject of an action, and for which courts have the power to afford redress. The complaint is that the defendants have banded together and conspired to “exterminate” the plaintiff, and that they propose to accomplish their purpose by compelling its members to leave it. Of course, when its members have all withdrawn, it will be extinct. We need not discuss the character of the means to be employed for its disintegration. Whether they are legal or illegal, they can not be made the subject of an action in favor of the plaintiff. It has no property in its members, and, in losing them, it sustains no damage which the law recognizes as damage. It can not compel its members to remain with it, and if they are violently driven out of it—if they are forced to relinquish their membership against their will—the grievance is theirs, and not the plaintiff's. Or if, for the purpose of forcing their withdrawal, others, by means of “boycotts” or “strikes,” are made to suffer, the latter must fight their own battles. The law does not make the plaintiff their champion. The disorganization and resulting extinction of the plaintiff would, doubtless, be a calamity, but it is one which the law is powerless to avert. We have cited no authorities because we can find none which are of any use. If a case bearing the remotest analogy to this was ever the subject of adjudication, our most diligent effort has failed to unearth any record of it. The judgment will be affirmed.
An important trial occurred in the county court at Hartford, Conn., and the only record which has been found concerning it is contained in the following newspaper extract:
Thompsonville Carpet Manufactory v. W. Taylor et al.--This was a suit against the defendants for conspiring to raise the price of wages and hindering other weavers from going into the employ of plaintiff, and a strike in July, 1833. The great point in the case was, whether peaceably conspiring or arguing with the workmen to refuse to work for less than a named sum constituted a ground for civil action on the part of the employer. On this point the court charged the jury in the negative. The case was much labored, and consumed a week in trying it. Verdict for the defendants. [Connecticut Courant, quoted in Niles Register, September 27, 1834.]
An interesting case involving the charge of conspiracy, based on an attempt to “boycott” or “blacklist " an employee by employers of labor, was decided in this State and is to be found under the title of State v. Opdyke et al., on page 176 of a work entitled, Wright on Criminal Conspiracy and American Cases, by Carson, published in 1887. This case has not been found in any of the reports, and the court and year in which the decision was rendered is not reported by Mr. Carson in the above-entitled work, although he speaks of it as “another recent Connecticut case.”
The decision, as reported by Mr. Carson, reads as follows:
The complainant has been employed for two years in the freight yard of the New Haven and North Hampton Railroad Company. He voluntarily left his employment, in a proper manner, but without the approval of Opdyke, one of the defendants, who was the superintendent of the company. He obtained employment in the same line of business in the freight yard of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, and after working for a few days, was ordered to stop work by Wallace, another of the defendants, and assistant superintendent of the last-named company, not because he was unsatisfactory as a workman, but solely because there was a mutual agreement between the defendants that a man not approved by one should not be employed by their respective companies, so far as they had control. It appeared that Opdyke had communicated to Wallace that the complainant had left his former employment in what he considered “a mean way.” The defendants were before the courts on a charge of conspiracy. The court held that the defendants had a common design to hinder the complainant from doing his work and earning his pay; not for good reasons connected with his immediate employment, but for reasons originating “ from excessive courtesy” between them, and which would not have been put into operation except for said mutual understanding, which was to all intents and purposes a “boycott” upon the individual who was the subject of the conspiracy. The court said: “It is well-settled law that any conspiracy to injure a man in his person or character is highly criminal at common law, and although recent events have developed conspiracies in new forms for new purposes bearing upon the varied business interests of this and other States, the court is clearly of the opinion that such conspiracies designed to directly prevent the carrying on of any lawful business or indirectly to injure the business of any dealer in or producer of goods, wares, and merchandise, by preventing those who would be customers for such goods, wares, and merchandise from purchasing the same, by intimidation, persuasion, or any means, other than by lawful competition, is also criminal at common law. The court is equally satisfied that any conspiracy to prevent, obstruct, or hinder any man from putting his labor on the market when, where, and for such compensation as he may agree for, if the same be lawful, is also highly criminal at common law and more disastrous in effect than any other form of conspiracy except that to take life. By law every man's labor, skill, and industry are his own property, and with a great majority of men, they are his all and precious to him next to his life. They stand in place of property, real and personal. His manhood, as well as the prosperity and comfort of him and his, are dependent upon his right to exercise these powers, gifts, and qualities with the same freedom with which more fortunate men bestow their goods and estates, and any prevention, restriction or hindrance in his lawful exercise of such freedom, by the common design and united action of any organized society, order or club, or by any organized combination of two or more persons, whether they are employees seeking self-protection, or employers intending to be courteous to each other, is in violation of rights established by the constitution and laws of the State. With this view of the law in the case,
the court finds the complaint charged the accused in a proper manner with the offense named.
The case of State v. Glidden et al. (55 Conn., 46) was held to come within the provisions of section 1518 of the General Statutes of Connecticut of 1888, prohibiting the use of intimidation, etc. (see post, p. 994), by a decision of the State supreme court of errors in 1887. The syllabus of said decision reads as follows:
The defendants conspired to intimidate the publishers of a certain newspaper called the Journal and Courier, to compel them to discharge against their will certain of their workmen and to employ the defendants and such persons as they should name. Held to fall within the prohibition of this section. The defendants' purpose was to deprive the publishing company of its liberty to carry on its business in its own way, although in doing so it interfered with no right of the defendants. The motive was to gain an advantage unjustly and at the expense of others, and therefore the act was legally corrupt. As a means of accomplishing the purpose the parties intended to harm the publishing company, and therefore it was malicious. It was also a crime for the defendants to seek to injure other workmen of the publishing company by depriving them of their employment. These workmen had just as good a right to work for the publishing company as the defendants had, and their right is entitled to the same consideration and protection. The defendants attempted not merely to injure the publishing company, but all persons who should patronize that company by subscribing for their paper or advertising in it. Held, that such conduct must be regarded as prima facie malicious and corrupt. If two or more persons combine to commit a crime or misdemeanor', such combination is itself a crime. And when the end sought is in itself lawful, a combination to use criminal means to accomplish it is a crime.
GEORGIA. Act No. 779 of the acts of this State of 1890-91, requiring certain corporations to give to their discharged employees causes of their discharges in writing, was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court of the State in a decision rendered in 1894 in the case of Wallace v. Georgia, Carolina and Northern Ry. Co. This statute has not been included in the Code of Georgia of 1895, presumably because of this decision, but it was substantially the same in principle as secs. 1875, 1876, and 1877 of the Civil Code of 1895 and sec. 130 of the Penal Code of 1895 (see post, pp. 997, 999). The following is from the syllabus of the case, reported in 22 Southeastern Reporter, page 579:
The public, whether as many or one, whether as a multitude or as a sovereignty, has no interest to be protected or promoted by a correspondence between discharged agents or employees and their late employers, designed, not for public, but for private information as to the reasons for discharges, and as to the import and authorship of all complaints or communications which produced or suggested them. A statute which undertakes to make it the duty of incorporated railroad, express, and telegraph companies to engage in correspondence of this sort with their discharged agents and employees, and which subjects
them in each case to a heavy forfeiture, under the name of damages, for failing or refusing to do so, is violative of the general private right of silence enjoyed in this State by all persons, natural or artificial, from time immemorial, and is utterly void, and of no effect. Liberty of speech and of writing is secured by the constitution, and incident thereto is the correlative liberty of silence, not less important nor less sacred. Statements or communications, oral or written, wanted for private information, can not be coerced by mere legislative mandate at the will of one of the parties and against the will of the other. Compulsory private discovery, even from corporations, enforced, not by suit or action, but by statutory terror, is not allowable where rights are under the guardianship of due process of law. It follows from the foregoing that the act of October 21, 1891, entitled “An act to require certain corporations to give to their discharged employees or agents the causes of their removal or discharge when discharged or removed," is unconstitutional, and that an action founded thereon for the recovery of $5,000 as penalty or arbitrary damages fixed by the statute for noncompliance with its mandate can not be supported.
The case of People v. Davis et al., reported in the Chicago Legal News, Vol. XXX, No. 26, page 212, was heard in the criminal court of Cook County, Ill., upon a motion to quash an indictment for criminal conspiracy. Said indictment was found under section 46 of chapter 38 of the Revised Statutes of Illinois of 1891, now section 96 of chapter 38 of the Revised Statutes of Illinois of 1896 (see post, p. 1001), a statute defining and penalizing conspiracy to boycott, blacklist, etc. The indictment charged that the defendants were members of a certain union, viz, the Hoisting Engineers' Association; that two workmen, Charles and Dennis, were in the employ of the Thomas Elevator Company; that the defendants unlawfully conspired and agreed together, with the fraudulent and malicious intent to wrongfully and wickedly injuri the business of Charles and Dennis, by unlawfully demanding of said elevator company the discharge of Charles and Dennis because they were not members of the Hoisting Engineers' Association, and then to “call off” certain engineers in the employ of the elevator company who were members of the association if the demand was not complied with, “for the purpose then and there of stopping the work of said Thomas Elevator Company, and thus throw said Charles and Dennis out of their employment.” The indictment then avers the execution of said agreement, demand, refusal, and “calling off” of the union engineers by defendants, and that thereby the work of the elevator company was stopped, and by reason thereof Charles and Dennis were discharged from their employment. It did not allege that any contract of employment for any period existed either between the elevator company and the union engineers or between that company and Charles and Dennis.
As a result of a hearing the motion to quash was allowed in a decision