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U.S. Supreme Court

Building Service Union v. Gazzam, 339 U.S. 532 (1950)

Building Service International Union, Local 262 v. Gazzam

No. 449

Argued February 9, 1950

Decided May 8, 1950

339 U.S. 532


In a state whose public policy is that employers shall not coerce their employees' choice of a bargaining representative, a state court injunction against peaceful picketing by a labor union for the particular purpose of compelling an employer to sign a contract which would coerce his employees' choice of a bargaining representative does not violate the right of free speech guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 339 U. S. 533-541.

(a) Since picketing is more than speech, and establishes a locus in quo that has far more potential for inducing action than the message the pickets convey, this Court upholds a state's restraint of acts and conduct which are an abuse of the right to picket, rather than a means of peaceful and truthful publicity. Pp. 339 U. S. 536-537.

(b) The picketing of the employer to compel him to coerce his employees' choice of a bargaining representative was unlawful because it was an attempt to induce a transgression of the State's policy against such coercion of employees. Pp. 339 U. S. 538-539.

(c) American Federation of Labor v. Swing, 312 U. S. 321, distinguished; Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co., 336 U. S. 490, followed. Pp. 339 U. S. 539-540.

34 Wash.2d 38, 207 P.2d 699, affirmed.

Petitioners were enjoined by a state court from picketing respondent's place of business. The State Supreme Court affirmed. 34 Wash.2d 38, 207 P.2d 699. This Court granted certiorari. 338 U.S. 903. Affirmed, p. 339 U. S. 541.

Page 339 U. S. 533

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