[303 U.S. 323, 325] Messrs. A. W. Richter and Morris Fromkin, both of Milwaukee, Wis., for petitioners.
Mr. Walter L. Gold, of Milwaukee, Wis., for respondent.
Mr. Justice ROBERTS, delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a suit to restrain the petitioners from picketing the respondent's place of business; from coercing the respondent to discharge any of its employees who do not belong to the petitioning union, or to compel them to become members of the union and to accept it as their bargaining agent and representative; and from advertising that the respondent is unfair to organized labor or molesting customers or prospective customers or persuading them to cease patronizing it. After a hearing, and upon findings of fact and conclusions of law, the District Court granted a preliminary injunction. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 1 Upon final hearing the parties relied upon the record as made in the preliminary hearing and some additional testimony.
The District Court found the following facts: The respondent is a Delaware corporation maintaining five meat markets in Milwaukee, Wis. The petitioners are, respectively, an unincorporated labor union and its business manager, citizens and residents of Wisconsin. The respondent's employees number about thirty-five; none of them are members of the petitioning union. The petitioners made demand upon the respondent to require its employees, as a condition of their continued employment, to become members of the union. The respondent notified the employees that they were free to do this and that it was willing to permit them to join, but they declined [303 U.S. 323, 326] and refused to join. The union had not been chosen by the employees to represent them in any matter connected with the respondent. For the purpose of coercing the respondent to require its employees to join the union and to accept it as their bargaining agent and representative, as a condition of continued employment, and for the purpose of injuring and destroying the business if the respondent refused to yield to such coercion, the petitioners conspired to do the following things, and did them: They caused false and misleading signs to be placed before the respondent's markets; caused persons who were not respondent's employees to parade and picket before the markets; falsely accused respondent of being unfair to organized labor in its dealings with employees, and, by molestation, annoyance, threats, and intimidation, prevented patrons and prospective patrons of respondent from patronizing its markets; respondent suffered and will suffer irreparable injury from the continuance of the practice, and customers will be intimidated and restrained from patronizing the stores as a consequence of petitioners' acts. There is more than $3,000 involved in the controversy.
The District Court held that no labor dispute, as defined by federal or state law, exists between the respondent and the petitioners or either of them; that the respondent is bound to permit its employees free agency in the matter of choice of union organization or representation; and that the respondent had no adequate remedy at law. It entered a final decree enjoining the petitioners from seeking to coerce the respondent to discharge any of its employees for refusal to join the union or to coerce the respondent to compel employees to become members of the organization, from advertising that the respondent is unfair to organized labor, and from annoying or molesting patrons or persuading or soliciting customers, present or prospective, not to patronize the respondent's markets. [303 U.S. 323, 327] The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decree. 2 By reason of alleged conflict with a decision of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Senn v. Tile Layers Protective Union, 222 Wis. 383, 268 N.W. 270, 872, and with our decision in Senn v. Tile Layers Protective Union, 301 U.S. 468 , 57 S. Ct. 857, we granted the writ of certiorari. 302 U.S. 669 , 58 S.Ct. 41, 82 L.Ed. --.
In the Court of Appeals the petitioners assigned error to certain of the District Court's findings of fact as well as to its conclusions of law. In this court the only errors assigned are to the holdings that, on the facts found, there was no labor dispute and that the Norris-La Guardia Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 101 et seq., and the Wisconsin Labor Code had no bearing on the case as made. In these circumstances we accept the findings of fact and confine our inquiry to the correctness of the District Court's conclusions based upon them.
The institution of the suit in the federal court is justified by the findings as to diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy. As the acts complained of occurred in Wisconsin, the law of that state governs the substantive rights of the parties. But the power of the court to grant the relief prayed depends upon the jurisdiction conferred upon it by the statutes of the United States.
First. The District Court erred in holding that no labor dispute, as defined by the law of Wisconsin, existed between the parties. Section 103. 62, paragraph (3) of the Wisconsin Labor Code,3 is: 'The term 'labor dispute' includes any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, or concerning employment relations, or any other controversy arising out of the respective interests of employer and employe, regardless of whether or not the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employe.' [303 U.S. 323, 328] The District Court was bound by the construction of the section by the Supreme Court of the state,4 which has held a controversy indistinguishable from that here disclosed to be a labor dispute within the meaning of the statute.