Unions before the Bar: Historic Trials Showing the Evolution of Labor Rights in the United States

By Elias Lieberman | Go to book overview
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Advertising for Customers: Merchants by Window Display, Union by Picketing (1935-1937)

SENN V. TILE LAYERS' PROTECTIVE UNION

I

During the depression in the early 1930's, many people became convinced that the lot of labor had to be improved. The suffering during the depression pointed up the need of workers to seek protection of their economic condition through collective bargaining, and the need of a law not to interfere with the legitimate activities of unions to secure collective bargaining.

This sympathetic feeling created an atmosphere receptive to federal legislation favorable to labor. Thus, in 1932 Congress enacted the Norris-La Guardia Act, which was designed to counteract the effect of the court's decision in emasculating the protection intended for labor by the Clayton Act and to supply an effective protection for organized labor against the application of the Sherman Antitrust Act. About a year later, after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Congress further demonstrated its favorable attitude toward organized labor by including Section 7(a) in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which was taken as an encouragement to workers to join labor unions. When three years later NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the Wagner Act was adopted, which specifically granted labor the right to organize and further provided that an employer was obligated to bargain collectively with the labor organization represent. ing a majority of his workers.

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