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The law of the employment of labor online

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« Davis t>. State, 30 Ohio Wkly. Law Bui. 342.


sense is attempted by a law of one state, which forbids the giving
of bribes to officers or agents of unions for the purpose of secur-
ing the adjustment of labor disputes, or of influencing them in
the performance of their duties as representatives of such or-

Section 114. Collective Agreements. — The principles govern-
ing contracts of employment considered in Chapter I are those
that apply in cases of contracts between individuals ; but in the
development of organizations in industry, there has arisen a
form of contract in which the parties are a labor organization or
its representative on the one hand, and an employer or the rep-
resentative of a group of employers on the other. These
contracts concern themselves with wages, hours of labor, clas-
sification of employees, and, in fact, with all the conditions of
employment. They may be said generally to attempt to provide
for their own enforcement, by provisions for arbitration, the
deposit of a forfeit, or otherwise without appeal to law. The
legal construction of such contracts has not, therefore, been
much discussed by the courts, and the cases available involve
such a variety of elements that a general rule can hardly be
deduced. The situation is further complicated by an apparent
conflict of opinion as to the validity of such contracts as passed
upon by the courts of different states. While their validity,
per se, would seem to follow from the general law allowing free-
dom of contract and of association, the extent to which the
parties thereto can go will be limited by the rule that no one can
barter away his own freedom, or form monopolistic combina-
tions or other contracts in violation of public policy ; and an
agreement involving enforcement by means of fines and penal-

« N.Y., C.L., ch. 40. sec. 380.


ties of a coercive nature will be considered as vitiated thereby.*
Where there is no attempt to coerce third parties, however, such
parties can make no effective attack on a collective agreement,
even though its observance by the parties to it may reduce the
opportunities of the third party for securing employment,^
since the freedom of contract enjoyed by individuals extends
to them in conjunction with others for the formation of united
contracts on matters of common interest.^ Where the question
lies between a labor union and one of its members who is un-
willing to abide by the terms of his agreement, the rules and
procedure of the union offer the natural and usually the only
means of redress ; though, as already stated, these rules must not
interfere with the legal rights either of the employee * or of the
employer.^ But it must be a party in interest who raises the
question of the legality of the contract ; for though it may be
invalid and unenforceable as overstepping rules of public policy,
it requires more than a mere negative showing of such facts to
lead to the intervention of the courts, since on such a showing the
law takes the contract as it finds it, and as it finds it leaves it.'
In a recent case an injunction issued against the newly elected
officers of a labor organization who sought to incite workmen to
strike in violation of an existing contract, thus implying that

> Delaware, L. & W. R. Co. v. Switchmen's Union, 158 Fed. 541 ; Hopkins v.
Oxley Stave Co., 83 Fed. 912, 28 CCA. 99 ; Hilton v. Eckersley, 6 Ell. & Bl.
47 ; Boutwell v. Marr, 71 Vt. 1, 42 Atl. 607 ; Martell v. White, 185 Mass. 255, 69
N.E. 1085.

« National Fireproofing Co. v. Mason Builders, 145 Fed. 260, 169 Fed. 259

» National Protective Ass'n. r. Cumming, 170 N.Y. 315. 63 N.E. 369.

« Brennan v. Hatters, 73 N.J.L. 729, 65 Atl. 165.

» Willcut

Online LibraryLindley Daniel ClarkThe law of the employment of labor → online text (page 20 of 32)