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Cafeteria Union v. Angelos

U.S.
Nov 22, 1943
320 U.S. 293 (1943)

Summary

holding that state may not hold a union liable for "loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like `unfair' or `fascist'"

Summary of this case from McCalden v. California Library Ass'n

Opinion

CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK.

No. 36.

Argued November 8, 1943. Decided November 22, 1943.

1. In the circumstances of this case, the state court's broad injunction against picketing of places of business by members of a labor organization infringed the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. P. 295. 2. A State can not, by drawing the circle of economic competition between employers and workers so small as to contain only an employer and those directly employed by him, exclude workmen in a particular industry from presenting their case to the public in a peaceful way. P. 296. 3. The right to peaceful picketing can not be taken away merely because in the course of the picketing there may have been isolated incidents of abuse falling far short of violence. Drivers' Union v. Meadowmoor Co., 312 U.S. 287, distinguished. P. 296. 289 N.Y. 498, 507, 46 N.E.2d 903, 908, reversed.

CERTIORARI, 319 U.S. 778, to review affirmances of decrees granting injunctions against picketing. See also 264 A.D. 708, 34 N.Y.S.2d 408.

Mr. Louis B. Boudin for petitioners.

Mr. Abraham Michael Katz submitted for respondents.



We brought these two cases here to determine whether injunctions sanctioned by the New York Court of Appeals exceeded the bounds within which the Fourteenth Amendment confines state power. 319 U.S. 778. They were argued together and, being substantially alike, can be disposed of in a single opinion.

We start with the Court of Appeals' view of the facts. In No. 36, petitioners, a labor union and its president, picketed a cafeteria in an attempt to organize it. The cafeteria was owned by the respondents, who themselves conducted the business without the aid of any employees. Picketing was carried on by a parade of one person at a time in front of the premises. The successive pickets were "at all times orderly and peaceful." They carried signs which tended to give the impression that the respondents were "unfair" to organized labor and that the pickets had been previously employed in the cafeteria. These representations were treated by the court below as knowingly false in that there had been no employees in the cafeteria and the respondents were "not unfair to organized labor." It also found that pickets told prospective customers that the cafeteria served bad food, and that by "patronizing" it "they were aiding the cause of Fascism."

The circumstances in No. 37 differ from those in No. 36 only in that pickets were found to have told prospective customers that a strike was in progress and to have "insulted customers . . . who were about to enter" the cafeteria. Upon a finding that respondents required equitable relief to avoid irreparable damages and that there was no "labor dispute" under the New York analogue of the Norris-La Guardia Act (§ 876-a of the New York Civil Practice Act), the trial court enjoined petitioners in broad terms from picketing at or near respondents' places of business. The decrees were affirmed by the Appellate Division ( 264 A.D. 708, 34 N.Y.S.2d 408), and were finally sustained by the Court of Appeals, its Chief Judge and two Judges dissenting. 289 N.Y. 498, 507, 46 N.E.2d 903.

In Senn v. Tile Layers Union, 301 U.S. 468, this Court ruled that members of a union might, "without special statutory authorization by a State, make known the facts of a labor dispute, for freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution." 301 U.S. at 478. Later cases applied the Senn doctrine by enforcing the right of workers to state their case and to appeal for public support in an orderly and peaceful manner regardless of the area of immunity as defined by state policy. A.F. of L. v. Swing, 312 U.S. 321; Bakery Drivers Local v. Wohl, 315 U.S. 769. To be sure, the Senn case related to the employment of "peaceful picketing and truthful publicity." 301 U.S. at 482. That the picketing under review was peaceful is not questioned. And to use loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like "unfair" or "fascist" — is not to falsify facts. In a setting like the present, continuing representations unquestionably false and acts of coercion going beyond the mere influence exerted by the fact of picketing, are of course not constitutional prerogatives. But here we have no attempt by the state through its courts to restrict conduct justifiably found to be an abusive exercise of the right to picket. We have before us a prohibition as unrestricted as that which we found to transgress state power in A.F. of L. v. Swing, supra. The Court here, as in the Swing case, was probably led into error by assuming that if a controversy does not come within the scope of state legislation limiting the issue of injunctions, efforts to make known one side of an industrial controversy by peaceful means may be enjoined. But, as we have heretofore decided, a state cannot exclude working men in a particular industry from putting their case to the public in a peaceful way "by drawing the circle of economic competition between employers and workers so small as to contain only an employer and those directly employed by him." A.F. of L. v. Swing, 312 U.S. at 326.

The present situation is thus wholly outside the scope of the decision in Milk Wagon Drivers Union v. Meadowmoor Co., 312 U.S. 287. There we sustained the equity power of a state because the record disclosed abuses deemed not episodic and isolated but of the very texture and process of the enjoined picketing. But we also made clear "that the power to deny what otherwise would be lawful picketing derives from the power of the states to prevent future coercion. Right to free speech in the future cannot be forfeited because of dissociated acts of past violence." 312 U.S. at 296. Still less can the right to picket itself be taken away merely because there may have been isolated incidents of abuse falling far short of violence occurring in the course of that picketing.

The judgments must be reversed and the causes returned to the state court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

Reversed.


Summaries of

Cafeteria Union v. Angelos

U.S.
Nov 22, 1943
320 U.S. 293 (1943)

holding that state may not hold a union liable for "loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like `unfair' or `fascist'"

Summary of this case from McCalden v. California Library Ass'n

finding that using words like "unfair" or "fascist" is not to falsify facts; rather, such words were obviously used in a loose, figurative sense to demonstrate the union's strong disagreement with the views of those workers who oppose unionization

Summary of this case from Robert E. Murray and the Ohio Coal Company v. Tarley

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 64 S.Ct. 126, 88 L.Ed. 58 (1943), the Supreme Court concluded that "to use loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like `unfair' or `fascist' — is not to falsify facts."

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In SEC v. W.J. Howey Co., 320 U.S. 293 (1946), the Supreme Court provided a framework for determining when investment contracts are subject to federal securities law. Under the Howey test, agreements are investment contracts (and therefore "securities") if they involve (1) a monetary investment (2) in a common enterprise (3) with profits to come solely from the efforts of others.

Summary of this case from Hallberg v. American Agencies General Agencies, Inc.

suggesting that a state could enjoin "continuing representations unquestionably false"

Summary of this case from Howard Gault Co. v. Texas Rural Legal Aid

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, a labor union picketed a cafeteria which was owned by several individuals who themselves conducted the business without the aid of any employees. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals of New York and found that picketing of an owner-operated business which had no employees was constitutionally protected as an exercise of the right of free speech.

Summary of this case from Grimaldi v. Local No. 9

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, the court had before it "a prohibition as unrestricted as that we found to transgress state power in A. F. of L. v. Swing, supra.

Summary of this case from Pueblo Council v. Harper

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 64 S.Ct. 126, 88 L. ed. 58, cited in both the Edwards and McWhorter Cases, the court reversed an order enjoining the union from picketing at or near Angelos' place of business as being illegal restraint upon "the right of workers to state their case and to appeal for public support in an orderly and peaceful manner regardless of the area of immunity as defined by state policy.

Summary of this case from Painters, Etc. Local v. Rountree Corp.

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 296, 64 S.Ct. 126, 88 L.Ed. 58, the plaintiffs were restaurant proprietors and the defendant union officials sought to compel them to employ union labor through picketing, including charges that they were "unfair". The United States Supreme Court held that the right to free speech in the future cannot be forfeited because of disassociated acts of past violence, and still less because of isolated incidents of abuse falling far short of violence.

Summary of this case from Missouri Cafeteria, Inc. v. McVey

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 64 S.Ct. 126, the Supreme Court even extended the ruling in the Swing case, and held that the State of New York was without power to enjoin peaceful picketing for organizational purposes, of a cafeteria conducted by the owners themselves without the aid of any employees. There was evidence in the case that the picketing was accompanied by false representations, knowingly made, both by word of mouth and by means of signs and placards.

Summary of this case from Pa. L. R. B. v. Ches. Del. Cos. Bartenders

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 294, 64 S.Ct. 126, 127, 88 L. ed. 58, 59, it was held that the constitutional right of freedom of speech secured by the Fourteenth Amendment comprehends peaceful picketing by a labor union of a place of business operated by the owners, doing all the work themselves without any employes, for the purpose of inducing the owners to join a labor union, or as the court said "in an attempt to organize it.

Summary of this case from Coons v. Journeymen Barbers, Etc. Union

In Cafeteria Employees' Union v. Angelos, supra, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the judgments of the New York Court of Appeals, which had approved an injunction restraining peaceful picketing in which the term "unfair" had been used, declaring: "to use loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like `unfair'... is not to falsify facts."

Summary of this case from Park T.I. Corp. v. Int. Etc. of Teamsters

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, 320 U.S. 293, 88 L.Ed. 58, 64 S.Ct. 126, the picketing was by a union against an employer who operated his own restaurant on a small scale, conducting the business without the aid of any employees, and the sole purpose of the picketing was to compel the proprietor to employ union help.

Summary of this case from State ex Rel. Lumber Etc. v. Sup. Ct.

In Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos, supra, the union peacefully picketed a small cafe which was operated by several copartners with no employees. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed a decree enjoining the union on the ground that there was no "labor dispute" within the meaning of the statutes.

Summary of this case from Bautista v. Jones

In Angelos, picketing union members told prospective customers of a cafeteria that the owner was a "fascist" and "unfair" to organized labor and that by patronizing the cafeteria, customers "were aiding the cause of fascism".

Summary of this case from Waldbaum v. Farm Workers

In Cafeteria Union v. Angelos (320 U.S. 293, 295) the Supreme Court, in reversing our Court of Appeals, which had granted an injunction to restrain picketing, where the pickets were carrying misleading signs, said: "And to use loose language or undefined slogans that are part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies — like `unfair' or `fascist' — is not to falsify facts."

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Case details for

Cafeteria Union v. Angelos

Case Details

Full title:CAFETERIA EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL 302, ET AL. v . ANGELOS ET AL

Court:U.S.

Date published: Nov 22, 1943

Citations

320 U.S. 293 (1943)
64 S. Ct. 126

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