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Vegelahn v. Guntner

Massachusetts Supreme Court
167 Mass. 92, 44 N.E. 1077 (1896)


In 1896, George Gunter and other trade union members (defendants) went on strike, demanding that manufacturer Frederick Vegelahn (plaintiff) pay higher wages. Strikers maintained a continuous patrol throughout the workday of at least two men on the sidewalk in front of Vegelahn’s factory, on one of the busiest streets of Boston. The strikers used social pressure, intimidation, and implied threats of physical violence to persuade existing employees to break their contracts and prevent workers seeking employment from entering the building. Vegelahn sued to enjoin the strikers. The court entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting inference with Vegelahn’s business using any scheme organized to prevent existing employees or those seeking work from entering the building, then conducted a hearing before entering a final injunction order.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

Concurrence (Allen, J.)

Dissent (Holmes, J.)

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