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was formerly allowed to proceed at his option either in admiralty or under the common law, might make a claim under the compensation law as a substitute for the common law. In Washington the reverse ruling was given. The cases were respectively: In re Walker (109 N. E. 604); Kennerson v. Thames Towboat Co. (94 "Atl. 372); State ex rel Jarvis v. Daggett (151 Pac. 648).
The same diversity appeared in the cases of interstate employees injured without any negligence on the part of the employer and therefore not entitled to sue under the Federal law. In Illinois a suit under the State compensation law was prohibited (Staley v. Ill. Central Railroad Co. 109 N. E. 342). In New York and New Jersey suits were allowed (Winfield v. N. Y. C. and H. R. R. R. Co., 153 N. Y. Supp. 499; Rounsaville v. Central Railroad Co., 94 Atl. 392). State statutes were held to apply rather than Federal statutes, in Tensen v. So. Pac. Co. (109 N. E. 600, N. Y.); Hammill v. Penn. Co. (94 Atl. 313 N. J.): Okrzsezs v. Lehigh Valley R. R. Co. (155 N. Y. Supp. 919); Fairchild v. Penn. R. R. Co. (155 N. Y. Supp. 751).
(d) EXTRA TERRITORIALITY OF STATUTE-In several of the states it was held that the compensation law of the State in which the hiring is done still governs when workmen in the performance of their duties go outside the State. This view was taken in the New York case of Post v. Burger & Gohlke (111 N. E. 351); in the Connecticut case of Kennerson v. Thames Towboat Co. and the New Jersey case of Rounsaville v. Central R. R. Co. Another important New Jersey case was that of W. Jersey Trust Co. v. Phil. & Reading Ry. Co. (95 Atl. 756), where recovery under the act was had by a brakeman engaged in interstate commerce, despite the fact that the contract was made in another jurisdiction than that in which the accident occurred: that negligence was in evidence and that the brakeman and widow had signed a release.
(e) HAZARDOUS EMPLOYMENTS—The New York law applies only to hazardous employments. What constitutes employment in this sense has been dealt with in several
Those engaged in certain plate glass industries, in running elevators, in wholesale drug stores and retail butcher shops, were included in the law, while others engaged as janitors, as hotel assistants, as harvesters of ice and as shippers in a wholesale produce establishment were excluded.
Many other important decisions were rendered by the various courts under the general divisions of "proximate cause," "evidence," "course of employment,” “benefits," "disability,” “dependency," "wilful misconduct” and “procedure.” Several cases were also decided under the general title of "Employers' Liability Insurance.”
XI. Relief Associations. That passage of the Federal liability statute had invalidated the contract of a member of a railway relief department, and that a claimant who had recovered in a suit for damages could not therefore receive further benefits from this department in accordance with the contract made, was the decision of the Supreme Court of Indiana in the case of the Baltimore and Ohio R. R. v. Miller (107 N. E. 545). In the other Indiana case, a contributor to a relief fùnd maintained in violation of a State statute was permitted to recover from: the fund the amount of his contribution thereto, he having left the employment of the company. (B. & O. S. W. R. R. Co. v. Hagan, 109 N. E. 194.).
XII. Liability of Employers for Injuries to Employees.
Scores of cases have been decided under this heading, the most important of them involving the application of the Federal liability law.
References. The foregoing excerpts have been taken from the Bulletin of the U. S. Department of Labor Statistics, entitled: “Decisions of Courts Affecting Labor, 1915.” The survey given in this Bulletin is an admirable compilation and can be obtained on application to the Bureau in Washington. The decisions are taken chiefly from the U. S. Courts and the courts of last resort in the various States, although they include a few from some of the subordinate courts, notably in the State of New York. The citations are not meant to be exhaustive, but merely indicative of the more important
If the reader is desirous of studying the general law on the subjects broached, he may be referred to other bulletins published by the Labor Bureau, to Clark's “The Law of the Employment of Labor,” Groat’s “Attitude of American Courts in Labor Cases,” Laidler's "Boycotts and the Labor Struggle" and Martin's "Treatise on the Law of Labor Unions."
THE KANSAS LABOR STATUTE CASE AND THE
By HARRY W. LAIDLER. Following closely in the wake of the Danbury Hatters' case, thę decision in the Kansas Labor Statute Case (Coppage v. Kansas) handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States on January 25, 1915, has been taken by thousands of citizens as but another evidence of the economic bias of our judiciary and of its utter failure adequately to adjust ancient legal principles to the intricate industrial life of today.
The Kansas decision in substance declared unconstitutional a state statute which prevented an employer from forcing an employee to agree not to join a trade union during his term of office. By this decision it is thus seen to be perfectly legal for an employer to cease relations with or "boycott” a worker, if the latter does not "boycott" union labor. The conclusions reached are even more adverse to labor than are those in the famous Adair decisions of 1908, which, according to many labor leaders, virtually legalized the blacklist.
The facts of the Coppage case are briefly as follows: In 1903 a Kansas Statute was passed making it a misdemeanor for any employer to require a worker to agree not to join a labor union or remain as a member of such, as a condition of obtaining or retaining a position. On July 1, 1911, T, B. Coppage, superintendent of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, at Fort Scott, Kansas, requested A. R. Hedges, a switchman, to sign an agreement that he would withdraw from the Switchman's Union of America and remain outside of its ranks so long as he was employed by the Company. Hedges refused to comply and was discharged. Legal proceedings followed. The case finally reached the Kansas Supreme Court, where the constitutionality of the statute was upheld. On January 25th of this year the Kansas judgment was reversed by the U. S. Supreme Court, Justice Pitney rendering the decision. Justice Holmes dissented on the same grounds as in the Adair case of 1908, and Justice Day issued a separate dissenting opinion, con curred in by Justice Hughes.
Justice Pitney contended that the statute in question constituted an interference with liberty of contract guaranteed by the Fourteenth amendment, and thus must be deemed to be arbitrary, "unless it be supportable as a reasonable exercise of the police power of the state.” A statute, he
declared, may be sustained as a legitimate exercise of this police power if it is passed to prevent coercion and to promote the public health, safety, morals or general welfare of the people. No coercion, however, here appears—the plaintiff was absolutely free to choose whether he wished to retain his membership in the trade-union or to keep his job. The act bears no possible relation to the public welfare, etc., “beyond the supposed desirability of levering inequalities of fortune by depriving one who has property of some part of what is characterized as his ‘financial independence. An endeavor so to level in'equalities would deny to citizens the right of private property guaranteed by the Fourteenth amendment, since inequality is the inevitable result of a system of private property.
Alleged Grounds of Unconstitutionality. Justice Holmes, as in the Adair case, took a more enlightened view and showed that the statute, far from interfering with freedom of contract, might be looked up actually preparing the way for such freedom. He declared:
"In present conditions a workman may not unnaturally believe that only by belonging to a union can he secure a contract that shall be fair to him. If that belief, whether right or wrong, may be held by a reasonable man, it seems to me that it may be enforced by law in order to establish the equality of position between the parties in which liberty of contract begins. Whether in the long run it is wise for the workingman to enact legislation of this sort is not my concern, but I am strongly of the opinion that there is nothing in the Constitution of the United States to prevent it.” (Italics mine.)
Justice Day sought to distinguish the case from the Adair decision. He declared that the right of contract was not absolute; that those who attack the legislation have the burden of proving that it conflicts with some constitutional restraint or that the public welfare is not subserved by the legislation, that the local legislature is itself a judge of the necessity of such legislation, and that the legislature's enactments might only be set aside if they can be shown to be arbitrary and capricious. Since this statute simply protected the legal right of an employee to join a union, its passage could not be considered an abuse of legislative power.
The Justice also declared that the court had no right to inquire into the motives of the legislature and that even if its object was that of equalizing the relative positions of contractual parties, and of protecting “those who might otherwise be unable to protect themselves," no substantial objection could be raised.
No Absolute Right of Contract. Justice Day scoffed at the assertion that coercion is not present when an employer forces an employee to sign an agreement to leave a union or leave his job. “In view of the relative position of employer and employed,” he declared, "who is to deny that the stipulation here insisted upon and forbidden by the law is essentially coercive? No forms of words can strip it of its true character."
We cannot help but feel with the dissenting justices that the Kansas Statute was a legitimate exercise of the police power of the state; that in inquiring into the motives of the legislature, the court unduly interfered with the legislative function; that, in concentrating on the alleged rights of the employer, it interfered unduly with those of the worker, and that the legislature can reasonably step in to lessen gross inequalities of position under the police power of the state. While we also agree that there is a real distinction between the Kansas Statute' and the Erdman provision dealt with in the Adair Case, difference or no difference, the constitutionality of the former statute should have been sustained.
BOYCOTT, BLACKLIST AND INJUNCTION.
BY HARRY W. LAIDLER.
Definition of Boycott. A boycott in labor disputes may be defined as a combination of workmen to cease all dealings with another, an employer or, at times, a fellow worker, and, usually, also to induce or coerce third parties to cease such dealings, the purpose being to persuade or force such other to comply with some demand or to punish him for non-compliance in
The boycott may be divided into the primary, the secondary and the compound boycotts. A primary boycott, an unimportant form, may be defined as a simple combination of persons to suspend dealings with a party obnoxious to them, involving no attempt to persuade or coerce third parties to suspend dealings also.
A secondary boycott consists of a combination of workmen to induce or persuade third parties to cease business relations with those against whoni they have a grievance. A compound boycott appears when the workmen use coercive and intimidating measures in preventing third parties from dealing with the boycotted firms.
Compound boycotts are of two kinds—those involving threats of pecuniary injury and those involving threats of actual physical force and violence.