Public Control of Labor Relations: A Study of the National Labor Relations Board

By D. O. Bowman | Go to book overview
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Chapter XXI. EFFECTS OF THE ACT AND THE BOARD

A. The Stages of Opposition

By 1940, the Act and the Board had gone through three distinct and separate stages of opposition. Each stage emerged from but differed from its predecessor, and each stage reflected similar objectives: Either to abolish the Act, to "equalize" the Act, to change the procedure and limit the operations of the Act, or to change the Board and thereby change the implementation of the Act. Three stages of opposition stand in relief.

"The Act is unconstitutional." The first stage of opposition took the form of a campaign to convince the public that the Act was unconstitutional. Although the Act had passed with impressive majorities in both the House and Senate, various groups were opposed. Organized labor was not here included; on the contrary, labor praised the Act and those who had supported it. Various business groups, however, opposed the Act and continued to attack it. On September 5, 1935, before the Board was organized or had drawn its rules and regulations, one very effective opposition move occurred. The National Lawyers Committee of the American Liberty League, comprised of fifty-eight eminent attorneys, issued a report on the constitutionality of the Act. The committee held that the important provisions of the Act were invalid on the grounds of due process and congressional power of enactment, i.e., that the Congress had exceeded its commerce power, and probably also on administrative grounds.1

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"The perennial struggle of American administrative law with nineteenth- century constitutional formulations of Aristotle's three-fold classification of governmental power, the stone wall of natural rights against which attempts to put an end to private war in industrial disputes thus far have dashed in vain, and the notion of a logically derivable super-constitution, of which actual written constitutions are faint and imperfect reflections, which has been a clog upon social legis

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