Milk Wagon Drivers' Union v. Lake Valley Co.
311 U.S. 91 (1940)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Milk Wagon Drivers' Union v. Lake Valley Co., 311 U.S. 91 (1940)

Milk Wagon Drivers' Union v. Lake Valley Farm Products, Inc.

No. 20

Argued October 21, 22, 1940

Decided November 18, 1940

311 U.S. 91

Syllabus

A union of milk-wagon drivers, employed by local dairies in delivering milk, mainly from door to door to retail customers, picketed a large number of retail stores which sold at cut prices on the cash-and-carry plan, milk bought at wholesale from individuals, called "vendors," who delivered it by their own trucks from supplies bought from other dairies under an arrangement whereby the milk that they did not sell was taken back at full purchase price by the dairies that supplied it. This "vendor system" had made inroads on the business of union dairies, and affected unfavorably the wages and employment of members of the drivers' union. The union claimed that it constituted unfair competition -- a device to escape union wages and union working conditions -- and, through the picketing, it sought to compel the "vendors" to join it for the purpose of improving their wages and working conditions. Two of the "cut-price" dairies joined with an industrial union (organized by their employees, including "vendors") and a cooperative association of another State from which they obtained their supplies of milk, in a suit charging the drivers' union and its officers with a conspiracy to restrain interstate commerce in milk in violation of the Sherman Act, and seeking an injunction against the picketing and attendant trespasses.

Held:

1. That there existed a "labor dispute" within the meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. P. 311 U. S. 96.

Page 311 U. S. 92

2. It was not material in this regard that the attempt of the drivers' union to unionize the "vendors" was upon condition that, if admitted to that union, they would cease to handle milk as "vendors." P. 311 U. S. 98.

3. The controversy did not cease to be a "labor dispute" when the plaintiff dairies' employees became organized. P. 311 U. S. 99.

4. The requirements of the Norris-LaGuardia Act not having been met, the District Court had no jurisdiction to grant an injunction, notwithstanding that the suit was based upon alleged violation of the Sherman Act. P. 311 U. S. 100.

108 F.2d 436 reversed; District Court affirmed.

Certiorari, 309 U.S. 649, to review a decree which reversed a decree dismissing, for want of jurisdiction, a bill praying for an injunction.

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