Los Angeles Meat & Provision Drivers Union v. United States

PETITIONER: Los Angeles Meat & Provision Drivers Union
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 371 US 94 (1962)
ARGUED: Oct 10, 1962
DECIDED: Nov 19, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Los Angeles Meat & Provision Drivers Union v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 10, 1962 in Los Angeles Meat & Provision Drivers Union v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 38, Los Angeles Meat and Provision Drivers Union, Appellants, versus United States.

Mr. Hackler.

Charles K. Hackler:

Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Court.

This case is a case of first impression in an Appellate Court, involving the question of whether under the antitrust laws of the United States, a District Court is empowered upon a finding of violation of the antitrust laws by a trade union, and frame a remedy which in addition to the usual prohibitory injunctive provisions applicable to the particular restraints of trade shown goes beyond that and includes the following three orders directed to the trade union.

First, that it expel from its membership all of a certain class of members.

Second, that it be perpetually enjoined from ever taking that class of workmen into membership in the future.

Thirdly, that if any present member of the union should become a member of that class by virtue of his manner of work that he should thereupon summarily be expelled from the union.

These three express provisions were included in the decree below by the subject of a direct appeal from a single judge decision here as the sole issue before the Court.

The matter is of importance obviously and of novelty because so far as I have been able to determine, during the more than 70 years since the passage of the original antitrust law, the Sherman Act was not until 1960 in a case arising in the Southern District of New York that this kind of a remedy not quite as drastic as this but in the same vain namely the forced of expulsion of union members was ordered by District Court.

I am not aware in the Government, although quite diligent in digging up forms of decrees, has not cited one whether has ever been a consent decree.

Tom C. Clark:

But it does [Inaudible]

Charles K. Hackler:

Yes, Your Honor.

That is the referred to in all of our briefs here.

It's the Smokehouse case and referred to by the decision below here.

This case arose by a civil complaint being filed against a Local Union of some 2400 members whose headquarters is in Los Angeles, California.

These members for the most part are engaged in truck driving and loading and unloading of trucks and incidental work in the meat and provision in allied industries in that city.

In addition to the union, it was made a defendant one of its business agents and four of its members who were self-employed meat peddlers.

The case went to the Court upon a comprehensive stipulation of fact, no evidence was taken, some 74 separate items of facts in great detail were stipulated between counsel and upon a stipulation on the part of all of the defendants that the Court, that they had violated the antitrust laws in the respects shown, a further stipulation that the Court could enter an order that such violations have taken place and also a decree enjoining each and every type of violation with leaving only for the Court's decision whether, in addition to that ordinary unusual remedy, there should in addition the expulsion remedies that I just described and which had been a part of the prayer of the Government.

Apparently following the Fish Smokers case in 1960, it has become in this type of case, that is a case involving so-called ?self-employed workmen? involved in an antitrust violation, the tendency on the part of the antitrust division to seek that kind of a broadened decree.

The Court took the stipulation and heard argument and briefs, handed down its decision agreeing with the Government and adding the three specific mandatory injunctive provisions for expulsion and refusal of membership in the union.

Now, it would be unduly burdensome upon the Court to go in to the very detailed factual situation.

It's all set forth in a stipulation in the record which the Court copied in haec verba in his findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Suffice it to say that that stipulation maybe summarized as follows; that this law for union beginning to the activities primarily of the individual business agent who was joined as a defendant and four of its grease peddler members who comprise a grease peddler committee, a sort of a self-anointed committee within, to their activities primarily over the period of time from October 1954 to the time of the complaint in May of 1959, engaged in a plan and program most extensively violative of the antitrust laws.

The program consisted primarily of the following, the union was approached by some 10 or more grease peddlers in the City of Los Angeles who found that their earnings have suffered for the past couple of years, they asked the union membership.

Mr. Singer, the union agent on behalf of the union, told them that they would be accepted into membership and then and there an arrangement or understanding was arrived at between them which called for the unionization of all of these types of grease peddlers in the city some 45 to 50 in number, an arrangement that none but union members would be permitted or authorized to pick up grease at restaurants and sell it processing houses, an arrangement and understanding that some effort would be made to stabilize or fix the price at which these peddlers would pay the restaurants for their waste grease and the price at which they would sell the waste grease to the processing houses.

That this program envisaged the raising of the earnings of these people.

These earnings were based upon the difference between the buy and sell price of the waste product.

That the conspiracy was carried out to a considerable detail and in candor requires me to state in many instances in a most ruthless manner and one that finds neither support in the antitrust laws nor in morality either so far as that is concerned.

These individuals and the agents ran wild.

They used picket lines inappropriately to accomplish these objectives and the net effect of it, and this is not questioned here because it emerges from the stipulation, was that only union members engaged in this somewhat peripheral industry in that city that prices were fixed, territories were allocated, it was an agreement among these union members not to compete one with the other.