The Supreme Court upheld a federal injunction against a labor union in order to protect the U.S. mails and to preserve the orderly movement of interstate commerce. Also, the Court implicitly permitted lower courts to apply the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) to labor unions.
During the famous Pullman strike in Chicago, members of the American Railway Union throughout the nation refused to handle trains carrying Pullman cars. When this resulted in firings, the union declared new strikes. President Grover Cleveland’s administration sought and obtained a federal injunction against the strikers. The circuit court justified the injunction under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the authority of the federal government to deliver the mails. With the spread of violence, Cleveland sent federal troops to Chicago to preserve order. When Eugene Debs,
Eugene Debs, head of the Pullman union, was jailed for contempt of court when he refused to obey an injunction.
Speaking for a unanimous Court, Justice David J. Brewer
Commerce, regulation of
Injunctions and equitable remedies
Loewe v. Lawlor
Lower federal courts
Sherman Antitrust Act