Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Another agreement between the Manufacturing Wood Workers' Association, the Brotherhood and the New York branch also adopts the plan of arbitration; the labor unions agree that "none of their members will erect or install non-union or prison made material," and the Wood Workers undertake that members of the Brotherhood shall“ be employed exclusively in the mills of the Manufacturing Wood Workers' Association.” It is found that most of the journeymen carpenters in Manhattan and part of Brooklyn belong to the Brotherhood, and that owing to their refusal to work with non-union men and to employers finding it wise to employ union men, it is very generally impracticable to erect carpenter work in those places except by union labor. It also is found that owing to the above provisions as to non-union material the sale of the plaintiffs' goods in those places has been made less. The workmen have adopted the policy complained of without malice toward the plaintiffs, as part of a plan to bring about "a nation-wide unionization in their trade."

An injunction is asked against the defendants' (other than the Master Carpenters) conspiring to refuse to work upon material made by the plaintiffs, because not made by union labor; or enforcing by-laws intended to prevent working with or upon what is called unfair material; or inducing persons to refuse to work for persons purchasing such material, or taking other enumerated steps to the same general end; or conspiring to restrain the plaintiffs' interstate business in order to compel them to refuse to employ carpenters not members of the Brotherhood. It is prayed further that the provision quoted above from the Master Carpenters' agreement and another ancillary one be declared void and the parties enjoined from carrying them out. No jother or alternative relief is prayed. The ground on which the injunction was refused by the District Court was that, although it appeared that the agreements above mentioned were parts of a comprehen

[blocks in formation]

sive plan to restrain commerce among the States, the conspiracy was not directed specially against the plaintiffs and had caused them no special damage, different from that inflicted on the public at large. The Circuit Court of Appeals, reserving its opinion as to whether any agreement or combination contrary to law was made out, agreed with the judge below on the ground that no acts directed against the plaintiffs personally were shown.

In the opinion of a majority of the court if the facts show any violation of the Act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209, a private person cannot maintain a suit for an injunction under § 4 of the same, Minnesota v. Northern Securities Co., 194 U. S. 48, 70, 71, and especially such an injunction as is sought; even if we should go behind what seems to have been the view of both courts below, that no special damage was shown, and reverse their conclusion of fact. No one would maintain that the injunction should be granted to parties not showing special injury to themselves. Personally, I lay those questions on one side because, while the Act of October 15, 1914, c. 323, § 16, 38 Stat. 730, 737, establishes the right of private parties to an injunction in proper cases, in my opinion it also establishes a policy inconsistent with the granting of one here. I do not go into the reasoning that satisfies me, because upon this point I am in a minority.

As this court is not the final authority concerning the laws of New York we say but a word about them. We shall not believe that the ordinary action of a labor union can be made the ground of an injunction under those laws until we are so instructed by the New York Court of Appeals. National Protective Association of Steam Fitters & Helpers v. Cumming, 170 N. Y. 315. Certainly the conduct complained of has no tendency to produce a monopoly of manufacture or building since the more successful it is the more competitors are introduced into the trade. Cases like Kellogg v. Sowerby, 190 N. Y. 370,

PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting. 244 U.S.

concerning conspiracies between railroads and elevator companies to prevent competition, seem to us very clearly not to have been intended to overrule the authority that we cite, and not to have any bearing on the present point.

Decree affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE PITNEY, with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE MCKENNA and MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER, dissenting.

Appellants, who were complainants below, filed their bill in the United States Circuit Court (afterwards District Court) in the month of February, 1911, to obtain an injunction against the prosecution of a conspiracy to restrain interstate trade and commerce in the products of complainants' woodworking mills and destroy their interstate business by means of a boycott. The federal jurisdiction was invoked both on the ground of diverse citizenship and on the ground that the action arose under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209. Upon the merits, the laws of the State of New York were relied upon, as well as the federal act. (General Business Law of N. Y., § 340; Penal Law of N. Y., $ 580, subd. 6.)

It was found by the District Court (212 Fed. Rep. 259, 263, 266) that the defendants were engaged in a combination directly restraining competition between manufacturers and operating to restrain interstate commerce, in violation of both federal and state acts. The Circuit Court of Appeals assumed this to be so (214 Fed. Rep. 82), and there is no serious dispute about it here. The District Court dismissed the bill, upon the ground that injunctive relief under either statute could be had only at the instance of the United States, or the State of New York, as the case might be, and therefore complainants could not have relief in this suit; citing National Fireproofing

244 U.S. PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting.

Co. v. Mason Builders' Association, 169 Fed. Rep. 259, 263. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decree upon the ground that defendants' acts were not malicious and not directed against the individual complainants personally, and hence relief by injunction could not be granted, irrespective of whether the particular combination in question was obnoxious either to the common law or to the statutes. This decision was rendered on April 7, 1914.

In this court, the prevailing opinion is that, although the facts show a violation of the Sherman Act, a private person cannot maintain a suit for an injunction under its fourth section. I dissent from the view that complainants cannot maintain a suit for an injunction, and I do so not because of any express provision in the act authorizing such a suit, but because, in the absence of some provision to the contrary, the right to relief by injunction, where irreparable injury is threatened through a violation of property rights and there is no adequate remedy at law, rests upon settled principles of equity that were recognized in the constitutional grant of jurisdiction to the courts of the United States. I think complainants were entitled to an injunction also upon grounds of state law; but will confine what I have to say to the federal question.

The proofs render it clear that defendants are engaged in a boycotting combination in restraint of interstate commerce prohibited by and actionable under the Sherman Law, on the authority of Montague & Co. v. Lowry, 193 U. S. 38, 44-48; Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U. S. 274, 292, et seq., Eastern States Retail Lumber Dealers' Assn. v. United States, 234 U. S. 600, 614; Lawlor v. Loewe, 235 U. S. 522, 534. The proof is clear also that the conspiracy is aimed at the property rights of complainants in particular; certainly that it is designed to injure directly and drive out of business a limited class of traders—the socalled “non-union” woodworking mills—to which complainants belong; that complainants are sustaining direct

PITNEY, MCKENNA, and VAN DEVANTER, JJ., dissenting. 244 U. S.

and serious injury through the closing of the channels of interstate trade to their products, an injury quite different from that suffered by the public in general; and that it is a continuing injury not adequately remediable by the ordinary action at law or the action for treble damages under the Sherman Act, and hence is an irreparable injury in the sight of equity. That there is no particular animosity towards complainants as individụals—assuming it to be true—is, in my view, a matter of no consequence. If evidence of malice be necessary (and I do not think it is), this is only in the sense that malice consists in the intentional doing of an unlawful act, to the direct damage of another, without just cause or excuse. Brennan v. United Hatters, 73 N. J. L. 729, 744.

Free access to the markets through unobstructed channels of commerce is the very breath of the life of such manufacturing establishments; and to say that complainants are not specially injured by the conduct of defendants seems to me to require that the eyes be closed to the evidence in the case and to the familiar facts of commerce. I do not understand either of the courts below to have held as matter of fact that complainants were not specially injured; but that the District Court (212 Fed. Rep. 267), while finding in fact that complainants were directly injured, reasoned (erroneously, as I think,) that it was not such special injury as was contemplated by certaiņ New York decisions cited.

Section 1 of the Sherman Act declares that every combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign nations is illegal, and imposes a punishment of fine or imprisonment upon the guilty parties. It clearly recognizes, what is well known, that injury to other traders and competitors is the primary effect of such a combination. A right of action for damages by a party specially aggrieved would have followed by implication (Texas & Pacific Ry. Co.

« AnteriorContinuar »