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U.S. Supreme Court

Senn v. Tile Layers Protective Union, 301 U.S. 468 (1937)

Senn v. Tile Layers Protective Union

No. 658

Argued March 31, April 1, 1937

Decided May 24, 1937

301 U.S. 468


1. The questions of what constitutes a "labor dispute" within the meaning of Wisconsin Labor Code, § 103.62, and what acts done by a labor union are among those declared lawful by § 103.53, are questions of state law. P. 301 U. S. 477.

2. If the end sought by a labor union is not forbidden by the Federal Constitution, the State may authorize the union members to seek to attain it by combining as pickets. P. 301 U. S. 478.

3. In its application to this case, Wisconsin Labor Code, § 103.53, making lawful the giving of publicity to the existence and facts of a labor dispute by peaceful picketing in the street, without intimidation or coercion, fraud, violence, breach of the peace, or threat thereof, is consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 301 U. S. 480.

Page 301 U. S. 469

4. A contractor who carried on a small business of tile setting, performing his contracts partly by the aid of a few nonunion workmen but largely by the labor of his own hands with the tools of his trade, and who, not having served an apprenticeship, was ineligible to become a member of the Tile Layers' Union under its rules, was called upon by the union to unionize his shop, and was willing to do so but for a clause in the agreement proffered to him (found important for the protection of union workmen) which would prevent him as a union employer from participating longer in the manual labor. Upon his refusal to sign the contract with this stipulation, the union sent two men to his home, which was also his place of business, and there they patrolled before it in the street carrying two banners with inscriptions, one of which declared that the contractor was "unfair" to the union, while the other appealed to its readers to let the union install their tile work. Held that the rights of the contractor under the Fourteenth Amendment were not infringed by a state law authorizing such picketing. P. 301 U. S. 481.

222 Wis. 383, 400, 268 N.W. 270, 872, affirmed.

Appeal from a decree sustaining the dismissal of the bill in a suit against two labor unions and their agents to restrain picketing, etc.

Page 301 U. S. 472

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