The National Recovery Administration: An Analysis and Appraisal

By Leverett S. Lyon; Paul T. Homan et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
CHANGES IN THE POSITION OF TRADE UNIONISM

In the preceding chapter we made references to the ways in which the NRA was affected in its labor policies by the activities of trade unions and how it in turn influenced these activities. To complete our picture of developments in industrial relations under the NIRA, we must now consider more fully what took place in the organized labor movement during 1933-34. What new trends were released by Section 7(a)? What were the results?

By March 1933, trade unionism in the United States had reached the lowest point in two decades in membership, financial resources, and morale. Four years of depression had aggravated the internal and external difficulties of the trade unions inside and outside the American Federation of Labor. It was being seriously debated whether or not all trade unions were on their "deathbed," soon to pass from the economic scene.1 Today, 20 months later, the trade unions are on the upward grade again in numbers, resources, and self-assertiveness, and are clamoring for co-equal status with management in the developing scheme of "industrial self-government."

This striking change in the outlook for trade unionism may be regarded as one of the major effects of the Recovery Act. It can be ascribed more particularly to the forces released by Section 7 of the statute. It is, therefore, of special interest to examine the specific influences

____________________
1
See Lewis L. Lorwin, The American Federation of Labor, pp. 451-55.

-488-

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