« ForrigeFortsett »
union officials under the contract between the union and the company, in spite of the fact that such union officials had less actual seniority than the veterans.
Death of owner and sale of business.-The reemployment rights of a veteran, a Federal district court ruled, do not survive the death of the owner of the business and a bona fide sale of such business.14 In holding that a veteran was not entitled to reemployment by the purchasers of a business, who had abolished his position, the court distinguished this case from one in which there is no change in ownership but a mere transfer of certain operations, or one in which there is a mere change in the form of the ownership for the purpose of depriving the veteran of his reemployment rights.
Federal Communications Act
Amendment of 1946 declared unconstitutional.-The act of 1946 15 which amends the Federal Communications Act of 1934 by making it a criminal offense to use pressure upon a broadcasting business to employ persons "in excess of the number needed to perform actual services" was declared unconstitutional by a Federal district court.16
The grounds upon which the court held the statute in conflict with the Constitution were that the act (1) is so framed as to create indefiniteness in the definition of a criminal offense, thus violating the fifth amendment (the court specifically referred to the necessary vagueness in the meaning of "needed to perform actual services"); (2) makes peaceful picketing, in order to enforce a request that more employees be hired, unlawful, thus violating the first amendment (peaceful picketing has been held to be protected by the free speech clause); (3) contains a restriction on the employment of labor, thus violating the thirteenth amendment; and (4) discriminates, without adequate basis, against employees of broadcasting stations, thus violating the fifth amendment.
Decisions of State Courts
Picketing. A number of recent cases arising in State courts have dealt with the legality of various activities involving picketing in a labor dispute.
Both the picketing of the employer in order to obtain a closed shop and the picketing of the employer's customers were held to be lawful, in a decision by the Superior Court in Maine." In refusing to enjoin
14 McFadden v. Dienelt, U. S. D. C. N. D. Cal., Dec. 4, 1946.
15 Public Law 344, 79th Cong.
16 U. S. v. Petrillo, U. S. D. C. N. D. Ill., Dec. 2, 1946.
17 Twitchell-Champlin Co. v. Conary, Maine Sup. Ct., Oct. 29, 1946.
this picketing, the court held that a closed shop is a proper objective of concerted labor activities, even when undertaken by a union that represents none of the employees of the employer. In addition the court, relying on several decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court in recent years, ruled that the picketing was protected under the free speech clause of the Constitution. With reference to the picketing of customers of the employer, the court held that union engaged in a labor dispute with an employer may lawfully follow the subject matter of its dispute by peacefully picketing the premises of third parties who transact business with the employer.
In a case in which a labor union instituted the mass picketing of a railroad in order to compel the railroad to refuse to handle the products of lumber mills with which the union was engaged in a dispute, a California court issued an injunction against the picketing.18 It held that the means employed, namely mass picketing, was productive of violence and hence unlawful. It further held that the objective of the union activity was likewise unlawful in that it would result, if successful, in a violation of the railroad's statutory duty to handle freight without discrimination.
Mass picketing was likewise condemned in a recent New Jersey case.19 In granting an injunction restraining the number and placement of pickets, the court pointed out that "coercive" picketing is not protected by free speech. In answer to the contention that the injunction violated the State Anti-Injunction Act, the court ruled that the act was purely procedural and did not change the substantive law with respect to the issuance of injunctions in labor disputes.
In the first of a group of cases filed by various movie producers against a carpenters' union, seeking to enjoin violent picketing in connection with a jurisdictional dipsute, a lower California court dismissed a motion on the part of the union to dissolve a temporary injunction that had been issued.20 The contention of the union was that the company was not entitled to equitable relief in the form of an injunction because of the doctrine that one cannot come into a court of equity with "unclean hands." The union alleged that the company had formed a conspiracy with other companies in discriminatively discharging their members and refusing to bargain collectively. The court held, however, that the alleged conspiracy did not pertain to the subject matter of the injunction and did not bar its issuance.
"Northwestern Pacific P. R. Co. v. Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union, Calif. Sup. Ct. Sonoma County, Nov. 1, 1946.
"Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. United Electrical Padio and Machine Workers, N. J. Ct. of Err. and App., Dec. 5, 1946.
* Warner Bros. Pictures v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Calif. Sup. Ct., Los Angeles County, Nov. 25, 1946.
Prices and Cost of Living
Index of Consumers' Prices in Large Cities,
RETAIL PRICES of goods and services purchased by moderate-income city families rose 0.7 percent between mid-November and mid-December 1946-the smallest monthly increase since June 15, 1946. This over-all rise brought the consumers' price index to 153.3 (1935–39– 100) on December 15, 1946-15 percent higher than in mid-June 1946, 18 percent higher than a year ago, and 55.5 percent above the August
1 The "consumers' price index for moderate-income families in large cities," formerly known as the "cost of living index," measures average changes in retail prices of selected goods, rents and services, weighted by quantities bought by families of wage earners and moderate-income workers in large cities in 1934–36. The items priced for the index constituted about 70 percent of the expenditures of city families whose incomes averaged $1,524 in 1934-36.
Since May 1944 a statement has been included in the monthly report on the consumers' price index, giving a brief explanation of the index. This statement pointed out that during the war changes in the quality and the availability of consumer goods, the underreporting of over-ceiling prices, and the disappearance of special sales were not fully reflected in the indexes.
Beginning with the release of the August 1945 consumers' price index, this statement was enlarged to summarize the findings of the President's Committee on the Cost of Living. The committee had estimated in November 1944 that the index understated the rise in retail prices between January 1941 and September 1944 by a maximum of 3 to 4 points, and that if small cities were included in the national average, another 1⁄2 point would be added. In December 1945, the Stabilization Director, in connection with Executive Orders 9599 and 9651, indicated that if account were taken of continued deterioration of quality and unavailability of merchandise between September 1944 and September 1945, the over-all allowance for the period from January 1941 to September 1945 would total approximately 5 points for large and small cities combined.
A further statement on this subject will be available in the near future.
The indexes in the accompanying tables are based on time-to-time changes in the cost of goods and serv. ices purchased by wage earners and lower-salaried workers in large cities. They do not indicate whether it costs more to live in one city than in another. The data relate to the 15th of each month, except those for January 1941, in tables 1 and 2. They were estimated for January 1, 1941, the base date for determining allowable "cost of living" wage increases under the Little Steel formula and under the wage-price policy of February 1946. January 1, 1941, indexes in tables 1 and 2 have been estimated by assuming an even rate of change from December 15, 1940, to the next pricing date.
Food prices are collected monthly in 56 cities during the first 4 days of the week which includes the Tuesday nearest the 15th of the month. Aggregate costs of foods in each city, weighted to represent food purchases of families of wage earners and lower-salaried workers, have been combined for the United States with the use of population weights. In March 1943, the number of cities included in the food index was increased from 51 to 56, and the number of foods from 54 to 61. Prices of clothing, housefurnishings, and miscellaneous goods and services are obtained in 34 large cities in March, June, September, and December. In intervening months, prices are collected in 21 of the 34 cities for a shorter list of goods and services. Rents are surveyed semiannually in most of the 34 cities (in March and September, or in June and December). In computing the all-items indexes for individual cities and the rent index for the average of large cities, because of the general stability of average rents at present, the indexes are held constant in cities not surveyed during the current quarter. Prices for fuel, electricity, and ice are collected monthly in 34 large cities.
1939 level. Prices for food, the most important part of the family budget, dropped 1.0 percent, but prices for all other major groups of living essentials surveyed advanced sharply. In the first full month after the end of price control, prices for clothing, housefurnishings, and miscellaneous goods and services increased 3.0 percent on the average. The food bill for city workers' families declined 1.0 percent. Retail prices for lard, oleomargarine, all red meats, cheese, citrus fruit, green beans, and lettuce which were lower on December 15 than on November 15, more than offset the continued advances in the retail prices of cereal and bakery products, butter and milk, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, coffee, and sugar.
TABLE 1.—Indexes of consumers' prices for moderate-income families and percent changes, Dec. 15, 1946, compared with earlier periods
Clothing prices for moderate-income families rose 3.2 percent during the first full month following the removal of price controls. Practically all types of clothing and shoes increased in price. Leather footwear led the upswing, with men's and women's shoes advancing 9 and 7 percent, respectively. Prices were higher for men's overcoats and suits, work clothing, and other cotton apparel and for most women's clothing items. Women's rayon dresses and underwear prices had the largest increases; retail prices of nylon stockings also advanced although supplies had improved markedly. Prices for women's coats dropped slightly in mid-December because of seasonal sales.
Housefurnishings prices advanced 3.6 percent between mid-November and mid-December. Most items in this group were higher, and increases were attributed to higher cost of merchandise for new stock. Washing machines, electric and gas refrigerators, and other household appliances advanced in price more rapidly than furniture, after the removal of price controls.
TABLE 2.—Percent change in consumers' price index from specified dates to Dec. 15, 1946,