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Simmons v. Retail Clerks Internat'l Ass'n

FEBRUARY 28, 1955.

ROLLIE D. SIMMONS AND JOSEPH N. SIMMONS, TRADING AS R.D. SIMMONS AND SON ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

RETAIL CLERKS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AFFILIATED WITH THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR, LOCAL NO. 896 OF RETAIL CLERKS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AFFILIATED WITH THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Massac county; the Hon. C.E. WRIGHT, Judge, presiding. Decree affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE BARDENS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Plaintiffs are owners and clerks of R.D. Simmons & Son store in Metropolis. They filed a complaint for temporary and permanent injunction against defendants praying that defendants be restrained from further picketing of plaintiffs' premises. Defendants are the international and local union of retail clerks affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and officers and members thereof as representatives of the entire membership. A full hearing was had in the trial court at which the parties stipulated that the evidence heard could be considered in determining whether a permanent injunction should issue. Decree was entered denying injunctive relief and plaintiffs appealed.

The picketing was carried on in a peaceful manner, not en masse, and the placards being carried were truthful. They carried the legend "The employees of R.D. Simmons & Son are not members of Retail Clerks' Union, Local No. 896." The sole question before the lower court was whether the picketing was being carried on for an illegal purpose. The national labor relations board had refused jurisdiction.

The complaint charges a conspiracy to force the employer company to enter into an unlawful contract to deal exclusively with the union without regard to the employees' wishes and a conspiracy to force the employees to become members of the union.

The evidence shows that on November 10, 1953, the following letter was sent to R.D. Simmons & Son:

"Harrisburg, Illinois November 10, 1953

"Registered Mail

Mr. R.D. Simmons & Son 609 Market Metropolis, Illinois

Attn: R.D. Simmons

Dear Sir:

"The undersigned is a representative of the Retail Clerks Union, Local #896. Such union admits to membership, among others, Department Store Employees.

"We feel certain that your Department Store Employees are nonmembers of any union. We are certain that they are not members of our Local 896. It is our desire to publicize that fact for the purposes hereinafter set forth, but before doing so, we wish to extend to you the courtesy of confirming or denying our beliefs. In making this inquiry, namely, Are your Department Store employees members of or represented by a Union? — I wish to emphasize that I am merely seeking information about a situation which could have changed within the last few days. It is not my purpose or the purpose of my union to make any illegal demands or requests of any nature upon you, your company or any of its officers, or any of your said employees. Whatever course of conduct you or your said employees adopt will be the result of their own free choice and judgment, so far as we are concerned. Therefore, I wish to impress upon you that neither my union or I, now or at any time in the future will make any illegal demands upon you or them in any connection whatsoever.

"As stated above, I am requesting confirmation or correction of my belief that your said employees are not members of any union. If you should fail to answer this inquiry before midnight of Friday, November 20, 1953, I shall interpret your silence as confirmation of my belief. If, on the other hand, I am mistaken, I kindly request that you write me at the address shown below and advise me as to the true status of affairs before the above mentioned hour and date.

"It is the intention of my Local Union, with the full support and sanction of my International, the District Council, and the local Labor movement, in the event your said employees are not Union members, to picket the Department Store in a peaceful and orderly manner, for the sole purpose of advertising to the public the fact that your said employees are non-union. My union ...


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