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Letter Supporting Anti-Injunction and Anti-Conspiracy Legislation

Letter Supporting Anti-Injunction and Anti-Conspiracy Legislation/tiles/non-collection/c/c_060imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Letter Supporting Anti-Injunction and Anti-Conspiracy Legislation/tiles/non-collection/c/c_060imgtile2.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


The Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Bradford Lodge No. 288, in McKean County, sent this petition to Congressman Joseph C. Sibley of Pennsylvania in 1902. The union encouraged the consideration of H.R. 11060, which would limit the meaning of the word “conspiracy” and the use of “restraining orders and injunctions.” As a labor union for railroad employees, the group had a vested interest in legislation that protected its right to organize, which had been curtailed by allegations of civil conspiracy and restraint of trade against strikes and boycotts. The bill was reported favorably to the House for a vote by the Judiciary Committee, so the petitioners appealed to Sibley to persuade the powerful Rules Committee to ensure passage of the bill. “We consider it is but right and in Justice to the laboring classes of people in the State of Pennsylvania and the United States of America, that this bill known as H.R. 11060 should be allowed due consideration by the Committee on Rules.”

H.R. 11060 was popularly known as the Hoar–Grosvenor Anti-Injunction and Anti-Conspiracy bill, after sponsors Representative Charles Grosvenor of Ohio and Massachusetts Senator George Hoar who introduced it on February 8, 1902. Anti-injunction and anti-conspiracy legislation was intended to allow workers the same freedom to organize and protest as individual citizens. The Sherman Antitrust Law of 1890 had been used by the courts against labor unions by branding them as “illegal combinations,” and union activity could be classified as a conspiracy. The Hoar–Grosvenor bill passed the House and was referred to the Senate, but never became law; however, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 made strikes, boycotts, and unions legal under federal law.

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