American Federation of Musicians v. Carroll

In American Federation of Musicians v. Carroll, 391 U.S. 99, 88 S.Ct. 1562, 20 L.Ed.2d 460 (1968), the Court was presented with a situation in which several orchestra leaders sued the musicians' union alleging that union restrictions on their ability as independent contractors to deal with third parties seeking their services violated the antitrust laws. The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Mr. Justice Brennan, held that due to the community of interests and possible inter-competition between the band leaders and union members, the setting of uniform prices by the union and the agreement thereto by the orchestra leaders did not violate the antitrust laws. The question of possible conspiracy with a non-labor group was found not relevant as the Court held that the orchestra leaders were themselves a labor group for the purposes of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. The Court then turned to the question of legitimate union interest with regard to the union's price setting. Pointing out that the crucial determinant was the impact which the price setting had on the union's membership, the majority found the activity protected. The Court indicated that such an agreement was necessary to protect the wages and other legitimate concerns of the union members because undercutting by the independent contractor-orchestra leaders generally led to a "skimping" on the amounts paid the member musicians.