• Last updated on November 11, 2022

In the so-called Danbury Hatters’ case, the Supreme Court held that a boycott against a manufacturer of hats, initiated in an attempt to force unionization, was an illegal restraint of trade.

Reacting to a secondary boycott sponsored by the American Federation of Labor, an employer brought suit against individual members of the United Hatters of America. The union claimed that the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was designed for business corporations, not labor unions. Speaking for a unanimous Supreme Court, Chief Justice Melville W. FullerFuller, Melville W.;Loewe v. Lawlor[Loewe v. Lawlor] ruled in favor of the employer. Fuller concluded that the Sherman Antitrust Act applied to all combinations in restraint of trade, and he found no evidence that Congress had intended to exempt labor unions from coverage. The Danbury Hatters’ decision greatly increased the vulnerability of labor unions to injunctions and damage suits, but the Clayton Act of 1914 provided unions with partial relief.Sherman Antitrust Act;Loewe v. Lawlor[Loewe v. Lawlor]

Antitrust law

Debs, In re

Gompers v. Buck’s Stove and Range Co.

Labor

Sherman Antitrust Act

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