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.
The nature and extent of the liability of striking workmen, or others who have entered into a combination to compel a given course of action on the part of another, depends in part upon the relation of the party seeking relief to the transaction. An action against the parties to such a combination is often brought by an employe whose discharge is demanded. An employe whose discharge has been caused by the wrongful interference of an organization or association may recover damages against such organization or association.1 By the weight of authority, an employe under a contract, who is discharged by his employer, not for any fault of such employe, but because his other workmen refuse to work for him unless such employe is discharged, may have an action for damages against the persons thus causing his discharge.2 The case of Allen v. Flood3 has been thought to modify this rule at English law. In a recent case, however,4 Allen v. Flood has been explained and shown to be not necessarily opposed to this rule. In Allen v. Flood certain shipwrights were hired by the job, their employer being free to discharge them at any time. Some of the iron-workers in the shipyard refused to work with these shipwrights, because the shipwrights had in the past, while working for another employer, done certain iron work. Allen, a delegate of the iron-workers, notified the employers that the iron-workers would be called out, or would knock off work, the evidence being conflicting on this point, unless the shipwrights were discharged. Accordingly they were discharged. They then brought suit against Allen. It was held by a divided court that they could not recover. The subsequent case referred to 5 points out that it did not appear in Allen v. Flood that Allen had any authority to cause a strike, and that as far as the record showed he did nothing more than to communicate to the employer the conceded fact that some of the men at least were not willing to continue work while these shipwrights were employed.
1 Rex v. Mawbey, 6 T. R. 619; Hilton v. Eckersley, 6 El. & Bl. 47.
2 Hilton v. Eckersley, 0 El. & Bl. 47.
3 Farcer v. Close, L. R. 4 Q. B. 602; Hornby v. Close, L. R. 2 Q. B. 153; Arthur v. Oakes, 63 Fed. 310, 25 L. R. A. 414, 11 C. C. A. 209; Commonwealth v. Hunt, 45 Mass. (4 Met.) 1ll, 38 Am. Dec. 346; Snow v. Wheeler, 113 Mass. 179; Longshore Printing Co. v. Howell, 26 Or. 527, 46 Am St. Rep. 640, 38 L. R. A. 464, 38 Pac. 547.
4 Schneider v. Local Union No. 60, 116 La. 270, 114 Am. St. Rep. 549, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 891, 40 So. 700.
5 Schneider v. Local Union No. 60, 116 La. 270, 114 Am. St. Rep. 549, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 891, 40 So. 700. 1 Wyeman v. Deady, 79 Conn. 414, 118 Am. St. Rep. 152, 65 Atl. 129; Connors v. Connoly, 86 Conn. 641, 45 L. R. A. (N.S.) 564, 86 Atl. 600; Berry v. Donovan, 188 Mass. 353, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 899. 74 N. E. 603; Shinksy v.
Tracey, 226 Mass. 21, L. R. A. 1917C, 1053, 114 N. E. 957; Brennan v. United Hatters, 73 X. J. L. 729, 118 Am. St. Rep. 727, 9 L. R. A. (N.S.) 254, 65 Atl. 165.
2 England. Read v. Friendly Society of Operative Stonemasons , 2 K. B. 732; Giblan v. National Amalgamated Laborers' Union , 2 K. B. 600.
Connecticut. Wyeman v. Deady, 79 Conn. 414, 118 Am. St. Rep. 152, 65 Atl. 129; Connors v. Connoly, 86 Conn. 641, 45 L. R. A. (N.S.) 564, 86 Atl. 600.
Louisiana. Schneider v. Local Union No. 60, 116 La. 270, 114 Am. St. Rep. 549, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 891, 40 So. 700.
Maine. Perkins v. Pendleton, 90 Me. 166, 60 Am. St. Rep. 252, 38 Atl. 96.
Maryland. Lucke v. Clothing Cutters', etc., Assembly, 77 Md. 396, 39 Am. St. Rep. 421, 19 L. R. A. 408, 26 Atl. 505.
Massachusetts. Berry v. Donovan, 188 Mass. 353, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 899, 74 N. E. 603; Shinksy v. Tracey, 226 Mass. 21, L. R. A. 1917C, 1053, 114 N. E. 967.
New Jersey. Brennan v. United Hatters, 73 N. J. L. 729, 118 Am. St. Rep. 727, 9 L. R. A. (N.S.) 254, 65 Atl. 165. "The defendants did knowingly and for their own ends induce the commission of an actionable wrong, and they employed illegal means to bring it about. Such conduct would be actionable in an individual and incapable of justification, a fortiori where the defendants acted in concert." Read v. Friendly Society of Operative Stonemasons , 2 K. B. 732, 738.
3  A. C. 1 [reversing Flood v Jackson (1895), 2 Q. B. 21].
"As to the vital distinction between Allen v. Flood ( A. C. 1) and the present rase, it may be stated in a single sentence. In Allen v. Flood ( A. C. 1) the purpose of the defendant was by the acts complained of to promote his own trade interest, which it was held he was entitled to do, although injurious to his competitors, whereas in the present case, while it is clear there was combination, the purpose of the defendants was 'to injure the plaintiff in his trade as distinguished from the intention of legitimately advancing their own interests.' It is unnecessary to quote from the judgments of the majority of the learned judges in Allen v. Flood ( A. C. 1) to show their opinions on the importance of this essential point. Lord Herschell, for example, said ( A. C. at p. 132): 'The object which the defendant and those whom he represented had in view throughout was what they believed to be the interest of the class to which they belonged; the step taken was a means to that end.' And the other noble and learned lords in the majority expressed themselves to a similar effect. For myself, what I said was this ( A. C. at p. 163): 'If anything is clear on the evidence, it seems to me to be this, that the defendant was bent, and bent exclusively, on the object of furthering the interests of those he represented in all he did; that this was his motive of action, and not a desire, to use the words of the learned judge, "to do mischief to the plaintiffs in their lawful calling." The case was one of competition in labour, which, in my opinion, is in all essentials analogous to competition in trade, and to which the same principles must apply.'
The fact that the organization or association which induces or compels others to break their contracts is acting primarily for the purpose of advancing the interests of its own members, and that it is interfering with the contracts of others, not with the primary object of injuring them, but with the incidental object of injuring them in order to advance its primary purpose of advancing the interests of its members, does not necessarily prevent such interference from being wrongful.6
"The ground of judgment of the majority of the House, however varied in expression by their Lordships, was, as it appears to me, that Allen in what he said and did was only exercising the right of himself and his fellow workmen as competitors in the labour market, and the effect of injury thus caused to others from such competition, which was legitimate, was not a legal wrong.
"It is only necessary to add that the defendants here have no such defense as legitimate trade competition. Their acts were wrongful and malicious in the sense found by the jury - that is to say, they acted by conspiracy, not for any purpose of advancing their own interests as workmen, but for the sole purpose of injuring the plaintiff in his trade. I am of opinion that the law prohibits such acts as unjustifiable and illegal; that by so acting the defendants were guilty of a clear violation of the rights of the plaintiff, with the result of causing serious injury to him, and that the case of Allen v. Flood ( A. C. 1), as a case of legitimate competition in the labour market, is essentially different, and gives no ground for the defendant's argument." Quinn v. Leathern , A. C. 495.
4 Quinn v. Leathern , App. Cas. 495 [affirming Leathern v. Craig, 2 Ir. Rep. (1899), 667].
5 Quinn v. Leathern , App. Cas. 495 [affirming Leathern v. Craig, 2 Ir. Rep. (1899), 667].
6 "Serjeant Sullivan, on behalf of the appellants, insisted that the fact that the members of the Transport Union thought it for their own interest to pass a rule that they should not work for a stevedore who was not a member of the Stevedores' Union was quite legitimate, that they were not bound to work for him or for any other person for whom they did not choose to work, and were, in the legitimate promotion of their own interest, entitled, within the decision of Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor, Gow & Co. ( A. C. 25), to observe that rule, though it might incidentally cause injury to those who desired to employ these workmen, but for whom they themselves did not desire to work. It is undoubtedly true that the members of a trade union need not work for those for whom they do not desire to work. That is the right to personal freedom of action referred to in the following well-known passages from the judgment of Lord Bramwell in Reg. v. Druitt ( 10 Cox, C. C. 592, at p. 600 and from the essay of Sir W. Erle on Trade Unions (p. 12). They have been many times approved in your Lordships' House. They respectively run thus: 'The liberty of a man's mind and will, to say how he should bestow himself and his means, his talents, and his industry was as much a subject of the law's protection as was that of his body.' And, 'Every person has a right, under the law, as between himself and his fellow subjects, to full freedom in disposing of his own labour or his own capital, according to his own will. It follows that every person is subject to the correlative duty arising therefrom, and is prohibited from any obstruction to the fullest exercise of this right which can be made compatible with the exercise of similar rights by others.'
"But it is equally true that the members of trade unions are bound to respect the right of other workmen to work for whom they please, on what terms and at what times they please, so long as they do nothing illegal, and are also bound to respect the right of an employer to undertake any work he pleases to undertake, and to employ what workmen he chooses, on whatever terms they both agree to, unless there is something unlawful in his action. If, therefore, any two or more members of a trade union, whatever its rules may be, wilfully and knowingly combine to injure an employer by inducing his workmen to break their contracts with him, or not to enter into contracts with him resulting in damage to him, that is an entirely different matter. That is an invasion of the liberty of action of others, and has no analogy to the action of the defendant in the Mogul Case  A. C. 25); for there, as Lord Halsbury pointed out in Quinn v. Leathern ( A. C. 495), no legal right had been interfered with, no coercion of mind or will had been effected, all were left free to trade on what terms they willed, and nothing was done except in rival trading which could be supposed to interfere with the appellant's interest.
"The fact that members of a trade union are merely acting in obedience to a rule of their union believed by them to be for their benefit is no defense to an action for the breach of any contracts they have entered into - Read v. Friendly Society of Operative
The fact that the employe whose discharge is caused by a combination, had voluntarily become a member of such corporation for the purpose of securing the monopolistic advantages thereof, does not prevent him from maintaining such action.7