Lauf v. E. G. Shinner & Co.
303 U.S. 323 (1938)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Lauf v. E. G. Shinner & Co., 303 U.S. 323 (1938)

Lauf v. E. G. Shinner & Co.

No. 293

Argued January 12, 1938

Decided February 28, 1938

303 U.S. 323

Syllabus

1. An unincorporated labor union demanded of an employer that he require all his employees, none of whom belonged to the union, on pain of dismissal, to join it and make it their bargaining agent. The employees, though left free in the matter by the employer, refused to join, having an organization of their own. The employer having rejected the demand, the members of the union, for the purpose of coercing him and in a conspiracy to destroy his business if he refused to yield, caused false and misleading signs to be placed before his markets; caused persons who were not his

Page 303 U. S. 324

employees to parade and picket before the markets; falsely accused him of being unfair to organized labor in dealings with employees, and, by molestation, annoyance, threats, and intimidation, prevented patrons and prospective patrons of the employer from patronizing the markets. Irreparable injury resulted.

Held:

(1) That there was a "labor dispute" within the meaning of Wisconsin Labor Code, §§ 103.62, 103.53, and of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C. § 113(C). P. 303 U. S. 327.

(2) In a suit brought by the employer against the union for an injunction, the substantive rights of the parties were governed by the state law, as construed by the state Supreme Court. Id.

(3) An injunction was too broad which included peaceful picketing, advertising the employer as unfair to organized labor, solicitation of customers not to trade, etc., these being acts which are made lawful by the Wisconsin Labor Code, § 103.53, if fraud, violence or threat thereof are not involved. P. 303 U. S. 328.

(4) The District Court was without jurisdiction to grant an injunction in the absence of findings of fact required by the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C. § 117. P. 303 U. S. 329.

(5) The declarations of policy in the two Acts mentioned to the effect that employees shall have full freedom of association, designation of representatives of their own choosing, etc., free from coercion of their employers, did not put the case beyond the scope of those Acts, since those declarations do not narrow the definition of "labor dispute" in the Acts, and the rights of the parties and the jurisdiction of the federal courts are to be determined according to the express provisions applicable to labor disputes as so defined. P. 303 U. S. 330.

2. Since the courts below did not pass on the questions of the legality under the Wisconsin law of the acts charged to have been done by the union, or the constitutionality of that law in legalizing any of such acts, no opinion is expressed on these questions, and the case is remanded. P. 303 U. S. 330.

90 F.2d 250 reversed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 669, to review the affirmance of a decree permanently enjoining acts on the part of a labor union -- picketing, parade of misleading signs, solicitation of customers, etc. -- directed against the plaintiff, a retail dealer in meats. See also 82 F.2d 68.

Page 303 U. S. 325

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