Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

had himself foreseen such a spirit when he took part in the formulation of a letter to his stockholders for his superintendent to sign, in which it was said: “To do this means a bitter fight, but in my opinion it can be accomplished by proper organization.” He testified that he was entering into a matter he knew was perilous and dangerous to his companies. In view of these circumstances, we said in the previous opinion:

“Nothing of this is recited to justify in the slightest the lawlessness and outrages committed, but only to point out that as it was a local strike within the meaning of the International and District constitutions, so it was in fact a local strike, local in its origin and motive, local in its waging, and local in its felonious and murderous ending."

Were we concerned only with the riot of April 6th, we should reach the same conclusion now; but at the second trial plaintiffs were able to present a large amount of new evidence as to the attitude and purpose of the leaders and members of District No. 21, shown especially in the interval between the riot of April 6th and the destruction of the mine property on July 17th following. This is attributed by counsel for the plaintiffs to the fact that the new witnesses had moved away from Sebastian County, Arkansas, and were freed from local restraint and to grievances of former union sympathizers and participants who thought themselves not sufficiently appreciated.

Part of the new evidence was an extract from the convention proceedings of District No. 21 at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in February, 1914, in which the delegates discussed the difficulties presented in their maintenance of the union scale in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas because of the keen competition from the non-union fields of Southern Colorado and the non-union fields of the South in Alabama and Tennessee. Stewart, the president,

295

Opinion of the Court.

called attention to a new field in Oklahoma which he said would be a great competitor of union coal fields, and that District No. 21 would be forced to call a strike to bring into line certain operators in that section, and in the event that they did so the District would fight such a conflict to the bitter end regardless of cost. They also discussed a proposal to reduce the scale at the union mines at McCurtain, Oklahoma, which Stewart advocated, in order that the McCurtain operators might be put on a proper competitive basis in interstate markets with other operators. Several of the delegates at this convention took part in the riot of April 6th and the battle of July 17th following

A new witness was one Hanraty, who was for seven years president of District No. 21, then a state mine inspector for three years, and then national organizer from 1912 to 1914, and president of District No. 21 again in 1915, but subsequently separated from the union. He testified that he had been closely associated as president of the District with Stewart as a member of the District executive board. He had been frequently in close conference with most of the leading men who had taken part in the violence at Prairie Creek. He said that he made speeches all through District No. 21 and did not remember a speech in which he did not mention the danger from non-union coal in taking the markets of union coal and forcing a non-union scale, and that it was a constant subject of discussion among the officers and members.

A leading witness among many others on this subject was a Dr. H. P. Routh, who practiced medicine at Hartford in 1914, and who lives now at Tulsa, Oklahoma. He said he was living at the Davis Hotel in Hartford in May, 1914, when the Executive Board of District No. 21 came down there for a meeting, and he heard a great deal of the conversation between the board members as to the

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

effect of this threatened non-union Bache-Denman operation. The conclusion they reached was that its success would affect so injuriously the trade of the Central Coal & Coke Company in shipping and selling coal in the neighboring States, that this company, the largest coal producer in that section, would have to become nonunion. He talked specifically to several members of the Board and of the Union who, the evidence shows, were shown to be actively engaged in the battle of July 17th.

In addition to this, the testimony of McNamara, already discussed, while ineffective to establish the complicity of the International Union with this conspiracy, contains much, if credited, from which the jury could reasonably infer that the purpose of the union miners in District No. 21 and the local unions engaged in the plan was to destroy the power of the owners and lessees of the Bache-Denman mines to send their output into interstate commerce to compete with that of union mines in Oklahoma, in Kansas, in Louisiana markets and elsewhere. It appeared that 80 per cent. of all the product of the mines in Sebastian County went into other States.

New and more elaborate evidence was also introduced in the second trial as to the capacity of the Bache-Denman mines under the open shop. In our previous opinion we declined to hold that the mere elimination from interstate trade of 5,000 tons a week, which we took to be the practical limit of capacity of the plaintiffs, was significant in the total tonnage of the country or state or that its stoppage furnished a basis of itself for inferring a palpable and intentional restraint of interstate trade with which the defendants could be charged even though coal could be produced at a reduced cost under non-union conditions. The amount we assumed was based on the averments of the third amended bill in which the normal gross income from the four mines of the plaintiffs used by them, and which were destroyed, was alleged to be in good times be

295

Opinion of the Court.

fore the trouble something more than $465,000 a year. At the price at which coal usually sold at the mine, this would make the output 5,000 tons a week. In a petition for a rehearing, plaintiffs urged upon us that this was an error and that the potential capacity of all the mines owned and leased by the Bache-Denman Company in that region, nine in number, was 5,000 tons a day rather than 5,000 tons a week. In the view we took of the evidence then before us, we had only the isolated circumstance of the reduction in shipment of the normal product of the four mines destroyed, without other evidence to show an actual intent and plan on the part of the defendants thereby to restrain interstate commerce. Whatever error therefore might have been made in stating the capacity of all the mines of the plaintiffs could not affect our conclusion, and the rehearing was denied. In the second trial, however, the total possible capacity not only of the destroyed mines but of the other unworked mines of plaintiffs became more important, in view of the direct testimony as to the moving purpose of District No. 21 to restrain and prevent plaintiffs' competition. The possible total to which their production might be brought was testified to by a number of new expert witnesess who were familiar with the mines and the business of mining and selling coal in the markets of the neighboring States. The conclusion of some of these witnesses was that with the union restrictions removed and a regular demand for the coal, the capacity of all the mines, owned and leased by the plaintiffs, those destroyed and those uninjured, could have been increased to substantially more than 5,000 tons a day. Such conclusion was possibly subject to criticism as exaggerated and speculative, and dependent on conditions probably not realizable, but it was all relevant evidence for the jury to consider and weigh as a circumstance with the rest of the new testimony in proof of intent of the leaders of District No. 21 to prevent shipments to neighboring States

[blocks in formation]

of such an amount of non-union coal at non-union cost. There was also new evidence tending to show the knowledge by Hanraty, Stewart and other leaders of District No. 21 of the character of plaintiffs' mines and their capacity.

The mere reduction in the supply of an article to be shipped in interstate commerce by the illegal or tortious prevention of its manufacture or production is ordinarily an indirect and remote obstruction to that commerce. But when the intent of those unlawfully preventing the manufacture or production is shown to be to restrain or control the supply entering and moving in interstate commerce, or the price of it in interstate markets, their action is a direct violation of the Anti-Trust Act. United Mine Workers v. Coronado Co., 259 U. S. 344, 408, 409; United Leather Workers v. Herkert, 265 U. S. 457, 471; Industrial Association v. United States, ante, p. 64. We think there was substantial evidence at the second trial in this case tending to show that the purpose of the destruction of the mines was to stop the production of non-union coal and prevent its shipment to markets of other States than Arkansas, where it would by competition tend to reduce the price of the commodity and affect injuriously the maintenance of wages for union labor in competing mines, and that the direction by the District Judge to return a verdict for the defendants other than the International Union was erroneous.

We affirm the judgment of the District Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the International Union of United Mine Workers of America, and reverse that in favor of District No. 21 and the other local unions and the individual defendants and remand the cause as to them for a new trial.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

« AnteriorContinuar »