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February 23, 1915



White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Hughes, Van Devanter, Lamar, Pitney, McReynolds

Author: Day

[ 236 U.S. Page 342]

 MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This case is brought here by appeal from an order of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Ohio, refusing an application for interlocutory injunction upon the petition of the Rail and River Coal Company, a West Virginia corporation, against Wallace D. Yaple, Mathew B. Hammond and Thomas J. Duffy, as members of and constituting the Industrial Commission of Ohio. The application was heard under ยง 266 of the Judicial Code before a Circuit judge and two District judges. The object of the bill was to restrain the Industrial Commission from putting into effect the so-called "Run of Mine" or "Anti-Screen" law of the State of Ohio, passed February 5th, 1914, by the legislature of that State, being entitled "An Act to Regulate the Weighing of Coal at the Mines." 104 Oh. Laws, 181. A copy of the Act is inserted in the margin.*fn1

[ 236 U.S. Page 343]

     Summarized, the bill sets forth that plaintiff is engaged in the mining business in Ohio, owning a large tract of coal lands, of approximately 32,000 acres, upon which it has four coal mines property developed, employing upward

[ 236 U.S. Page 344]

     of 2,000 persons; that in the State of Ohio there are about 600 coal mines, employing upwards of 45,000 persons; that in the year 1913 more than 36,000,000 tons of coal were produced, and there was expended in wages to said employes upwards of $26,000,000; that the defendants are the members of the Industrial Commission of Ohio, vested by the legislature of that State with authority to enforce the provisions of the "Mine-Run Law"; that for many years mining has been conducted in the State of Ohio by the miners entering into contracts with their employers for a period of two years; that the last contracts expired on April 1, 1914.

The bill set forth the provisions of the act, and alleged that the same are unreasonable and arbitrary and impracticable in operation, and that the act is unconstitutional, as in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of the constitution of the State of Ohio, and that it delegates legislative authority to the Industrial Commission of the State; and although the bill was filed before the act went into effect, it was alleged that the Industrial Commission in putting the same into effect would work an irreparable

[ 236 U.S. Page 345]

     injury to the plaintiff. Upon application under this bill to the District Court, composed of three judges, the injunction was denied (214 Fed. Rep. 273), and the case is appealed to this court.

Under the system of wage payment and mining of coal in use before the passage of this statute, miners in Ohio were paid at a certain price per ton for screened lump coal, that is, for coal which, after it is mined and brought to the surface, is passed over a screen, the bars of which are one and a quarter inches apart. The report of the Ohio Coal Mining Commission, a public document, copies of which have been filed by counsel in this case, shows that that system of mining was regarded as objectionable by the miners, on the ground that they were not paid for mining of a considerable quantity of marketable coal, and there was dissatisfaction because of the wearing of the screens so as to increase the size of the apertures between the bars above the standard. In Ohio, as in some other States, there was much complaint because of this system. It appears that the employers generally desired to preserve the screened-coal basis of payment, and objected to the run of mine system, in which the miner is paid for mining coal as it is when mined without screening. Before enacting the legislation now in controversy in the State of Ohio, the question was referred to a Coal Mining Commission, which Commission, after full investigation of the subject, made the report referred to, in which it appears that the arguments pro and con were considered and reported upon, and a bill was recommended in the form in which the legislature passed the present law. The report of the Commission cannot be read without a conviction that there was an earnest attempt to eliminate the objections to the "run of mine" basis of payment to the miners, and to enact a system fair alike to employer and miner.

The principal objections of the employers to the run of mine system adopted in some of the ...

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