Labor Injunctions

March 25, 1950

Report Outline
Power of Courts Over Labor Unions
Labor's Long Struggle Against Injunctions
Injunctions Under the Taft-Hartley Law

Power of Courts Over Labor Unions

Mine Worker's Challenge to Injunctive Process

Culminating events of the 1949–50 bituminous mine stoppage have raised serious doubt that injunction provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act as they now stand will ever again prove adequate to protect the country against nation-wide strikes by determined unions in basic industries. Private use of injunctions in labor disputes was curbed by the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, after 40 years of complaint by labor leaders and others that the courts were being used by employers to break strikes and obstruct union organization. Government use of injunctions in situations which imperil the national health or safety is now under reexamination, on the basis of recent experience in the coal emergency, in an attempt to assay future chances of success for this method of enforcing government labor-management policy.

The federal Court of Appeals at Washington has set Apr. 26 for a hearing on the government's appeal from a finding of District Judge Richmond B. Keech, Mar. 2, that the United Mine Workers' union had not been proved in contempt of his order to terminate the nation-wide coal strike. A temporary restraining order issued by Judge Keech Feb. 11 had prohibited the union and its officers “from in any manner engaging in, permitting or encouraging the said strike or its continuation, in whole or in part” and had directed the officers to take “all appropriate action” to insure that the miners would return to work.

Refusal by the miners to obey a similar order issued by Judge T. Alan Goldsborough of the same court in 1948 resulted in a prompt contempt conviction and heavy fines on both the union and its president, John L. Lewis. In reply to union claims that no strike had been called, Goldsborough declared: “If a nod or a wink or a code was used in place of the word ‘strike,’ there was just as much a strike as if the word ‘strike’ had been used.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Labor Unions
Aug. 07, 2015  Unions at a Crossroads
Sep. 02, 2005  Labor Unions' Future Updated
Jun. 28, 1996  Labor Movement's Future
Jun. 14, 1985  Organized Labor in the 1980s
Nov. 06, 1981  Labor Under Siege
Mar. 24, 1978  Labor's Southern Strategy
Aug. 20, 1976  Labor's Options
Oct. 27, 1971  Organized Labor After the Freeze
Oct. 19, 1966  Labor Strife and the Public Interest
Jan. 30, 1963  Strike Action and the Law
Sep. 20, 1961  Conflicts in Organized Labor
Aug. 04, 1960  Labor, Management, and the National Interest
Dec. 16, 1959  Future of Free Collective Bargaining
Nov. 04, 1959  Featherbedding and Union Work Rules
Feb. 18, 1959  Public Intervention in Labor Disputes
Jul. 09, 1958  Suits Against Labor Unions
Nov. 13, 1957  Right-To-Work Laws
Oct. 31, 1956  Union Organizing
May 01, 1954  State Powers in Labor Relations
Oct. 02, 1953  Toward Labor Unity
Apr. 11, 1953  Industry-Wide Bargaining and Industry-Wide Strikes
Sep. 03, 1952  Labor and Politics
Mar. 25, 1950  Labor Injunctions
Jan. 25, 1950  Trade Unions and Productivity
Sep. 26, 1949  Fact-Finding Boards in Labor Disputes
Mar. 05, 1949  Closed Shop
Dec. 01, 1948  Revision of the Taft-Hartley Act
Jan. 01, 1947  Labor Unions, the Public and the Law
Oct. 09, 1946  Revision of the Wagner Act
Sep. 25, 1946  Labor Productivity
May 29, 1946  Labor Organization in the South
Jan. 30, 1946  Compulsory Settlement of Labor Disputes
May 18, 1945  Labor Policy After the War
Mar. 29, 1945  Union Maintenance
Feb. 02, 1945  Labor Relations in Coal Mining
Oct. 12, 1944  No-Strike Pledge
Sep. 16, 1944  Political Action by Organized Labor
May 30, 1944  Unionization of Foremen
Apr. 01, 1944  Dismissal Pay
Apr. 29, 1943  Labor in Government
Apr. 09, 1943  Public Regulation of Trade Unions
Nov. 19, 1941  Labor Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 23, 1941  Closed Shop Issue in Labor Relations
Mar. 29, 1941  Labor as Partner in Production
Feb. 12, 1941  Labor and the Defense Program
Feb. 23, 1940  Labor in Politics
Jan. 17, 1939  Settlement of Disputes Between Labor Unions
Jul. 01, 1938  Three Years of National Labor Relations Act
Nov. 12, 1937  State Regulation of Labor Relations
Jul. 10, 1937  Restrictions on the Right to Strike
Apr. 28, 1937  The Labor Market and the Unemployed
Mar. 26, 1937  Control of the Sit-Down Strike
Mar. 13, 1937  Collective Bargaining in the Soft-Coal Industry
Jan. 22, 1937  Responsibility of Labor Unions
Nov. 11, 1936  Industrial Unionism and the A.F. of L.
Jul. 30, 1936  Federal Intervention in Labor Disputes
Jul. 14, 1936  Labor Relations in the Steel Industry
Apr. 17, 1934  Company Unions and Collective Bargaining
Feb. 07, 1934  Settlement of Labor Disputes
Sep. 12, 1933  Trade Unionism Under the Recovery Program
Feb. 17, 1932  Wage Concessions by Trade Unions
Oct. 01, 1929  Status of the American Labor Movement
Jul. 20, 1929  Trade Unionism in the South
Aug. 31, 1928  Organized Labor in National Politics
Feb. 04, 1928  The Use of Injunctions in Labor Disputes
Sep. 09, 1927  Organized Labor and the Works Council Movement
Oct. 12, 1923  The A.F. of L. and the “New Radicalism”
Commercial Law
Unions and Labor-Management Relations