This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
"A picket, in its very nature, tends to accomplish, and is designed to accomplish, these very things: It tends to, and is designed by physical intimidation to, deter other men from seeking employment in the places vacated by the strikers. It tends, and is designed, to drive business away from the boycotted place, not by the legitimate methods of persuasion, but by the illegitimate means of physical intimidation and fear. Crowds naturally collect; disturbances of the peace are always imminent and of frequent occurrence. Many peaceful citizens, men and women, are always deterred by physical trepidation from entering places of business so under a boycott patrol. It is idle to split hairs upon so plain a proposition, and to say that the picket may consist of nothing more than a single individual, peacefully endeavoring by persuasion to prevent customers from entering the boycotted place. The plain facts are always at variance with such refinements of reason." St. Germain v. Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union, 97 Wash. 282, L. R. A. 1917F. 824, 166 Pac. 665. "There have been a few cases where it was held that picketing by a labor union of a place of business is not necessarily unlawful if the pickets are peaceful and well-behaved: but if the watching and beset-ting of the workmen is carried to such a length as to constitute an annoyance to them or their employer, it becomes unlawful. But manifestly that is not a safe rule, and furnishes no fixed or certain standard of what is lawful or unlawful. Any picket line must result in annoyance, both to the employer and the workmen. no matter what is said or done; and to say that the court is to determine by the. de-gree of annoyance whether it shall be stopped or not would furnish no guide, but leave the question to the individual notions or bias of the particular judge. To picket the complainants' premises was in itself an act of intimidation, and an unwarrantable interference with their rights." St. Germain v. Bakery and Confectionery Workers' Interna-tional Union, 97 Wash. 282, L. R. A. 1917F, 824, 166 Pac. 665. "To picket complainants' premises in order to intercept their teamsters or persona going there to trade is unlawful. It itself is an act of intimidation, and an unwarrantable interference with the right of free trade. The highways and public streets must be free to all for the purposes of trade, commerce and labor. The law protects the buyer, the seller, the merchant, the manufacturer. and the laborer, in the right to walk the streets unmolested. It is no respecter of persons, and it makes no difference, in effect, whether the picketing is done ten or one thousand feet away." St. Germain v. Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union, 97 Wash. 282. L. R. A. 1917F, 824, 166 Pac. 665.
9 Goldberg v. Stablemen's Union, 149 Cal. 429, 117 Am. St. Rep. 145, 8 L. R. A. (X.S.) 460, 86 Pac. 806.
10 Harvey v. Chapman, 226 Mass. 191 L. R. A. 1917E, 389, 115 N. E. 304.
In some jurisdictions it is held that every person has a right to have labor and business flow freely to him, and that an organized effort to prevent this is a wrong against which he may have an injunction. Where this view is taken, even peaceable picketing for the purpose of preventing an employer from obtaining a supply of labor in the normal course of business, will be enjoined.11 In other jurisdictions it has been held that a peaceful picketing is the only available method by which the strikers can state their grievances, use arguments to induce others to co-operate with them, and that this is accordingly a mere exercise of the right of free speech. Where such view is taken, peaceful picketing is not enjoined.12 Injunction will not issue to restrain a union from having a banner exhibited in front of the theater when the audience is entering for each performance, declaring that such theater was "unfair to organized labor," and from announcing that all who deal with such theater will be considered themselves as unfair to organized labor.13
11 Harvey v. Chapman, 226 Mass. 191, L. R. A. 1917E, 389, 115 N. E. 304.
12 Iron Molders' Union v. Allis-Chalmers Co., 166 Fed. 45, 20 L. R. A. (N.S.) 315; Niles-Bement-Pond Co. v. Iron Molders' Union, 246 Fed. 851; Truax v. Bisbee Local, No. 380, Cooks' and Waiters.' Union, 10 Ariz. 370, 171 Pac. 121; Empire Theater Co. v. Cloke, 53 Mont. 183, L. R. A. 1017E, 383, 163 Pac. 107.
"Cases that have held picketing to be per be illegal, and that there can be no such things as peaceable picketing (Pierce v. Stablemen's Union, 156 Cal. 70, 103 Pac. 324; Barnes & Co. v. Chicago Typographical Union, 232 111. 424, 83 N. E. 040, 14 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1018, 13 Ann. Cas. 54; St. Germain v: Bakery, etc., Union, 07 Wash. 282, 166 Pac. 665, L. R. A. 1017F, 824; Hall v. Johnson [Or.], 160 Pac. 515), deal with a state of facts wherein the purpose of the picketing was to watch and influence the employes working or persons seeking employment, and by causing men who were working to quit work, or preventing those seeking work from working. No case has been brought to my attention wherein the 'picketing' was intended solely to affect prospective patrons and customers by causing such patrons and customers to change their minds and trade elsewhere. No court, so far as I have observed, has held such acts of union men 'picketing.' Yet the union agent who displays a banner advertising the existence of a strike against the place of business in front of which the banner is displayed and paraded, is commonly referred to as a 'picket.' Under the evidence in this case, as given by Wm. Truax, one of plaintiffs, the person carrying the display banners immediately in front of plaintiffs' business place, 'walks back and forth and does not say anything. He never speaks to any one. One of them that carries the banner makes signs and in other ways attracts the attention of people, singing and whistling.' On cross-examination the witness says: 'I never saw them have any fights in front of our place, or grab hold of anybody and pull them out. So far as I know, everything that was done there was done quietly, with the exception' of what witness was told by others.
"Conceding that the persons who carried the banners were 'pickets,' then the purpose of such picketing was to advertise and make known to the public in general that a strike was on against the English Kitchen for the reason that the English Kitchen is 'unfair' to organized labor. Whatever interference with plaintiffs' business the presence of the banner carriers caused, that interference did not arise from any boisterous conduct of the carriers. Their conduct was at least peaceable. Their presence near the English Kitchen is the only ground for complaint.