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Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co.

United States Supreme Court
336 U.S. 490 (1949)


In Missouri’s Kansas City (the city), many of the city’s ice peddlers belonged to the Ice and Coal Drivers and Handlers Local Union (the union). In an effort to improve wages and work conditions for ice peddlers, members of the union (defendants) attempted to convince all of the city’s ice peddlers to join the union. However, when some ice peddlers refused to join the union, the defendants initiated a plan to pressure the city’s wholesale ice distributors to agree to only supply ice to union peddlers. Empire Storage & Ice Company (Empire) (plaintiff), an ice distributor, was the only company that continued to supply ice to non-union peddlers. The defendants began to picket outside of Empire’s offices. The defendants’ only complaint during these protests was that Empire continued to supply ice to non-union peddlers. Despite these protests, Empire still refused to comply. The protests adversely impacted Empire’s business, as many of Empire’s workers were members of the union and refused to carry out their deliveries. Empire filed for an injunction to enjoin the defendants’ picketing, arguing that the defendants were violating Missouri’s anti-trade-restraint statute. The trial court granted the injunction. The defendants appealed the injunction to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the injunction violated their First Amendment right to peaceful protest.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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