Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell 245 U.S. 229 (1917)

Author:David Gordon

Page 1292

In this case a 6?3 Supreme Court approved use of an INJUNCTION to enforce YELLOW DOG CONTRACTS. The injunction prohibited the union from inducing breach of contract by communicating with employees or potential employees of the company. The majority emphasized that Hitchman had as much right to condition employment contracts on promises not to join a union as the workers had to decline job offers. Indeed, "this is a part of the constitutional right of personal liberty and private property" protected by SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS of law. The Court thus held that these workers were not free because they had signed the yellow dog contracts.

Justice LOUIS D. BRANDEIS dissented, joined by Justices OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES and JOHN H. CLARKE. The union, they said, had merely sought promises to join, and the yellow dog contracts were not genuine contracts because they were not freely entered into by the workers. The Court's hostility to LABOR...

To continue reading