The Law of Collective Bargaining and Wartime Labor Regulations
James B. Atleson
This chapter focuses upon two areas of National War Labor Board ( NWLB) jurisprudence during World War II and their current parallels. The first area concerns the administration and enforcement of collective agreements via arbitration, and the second deals with the range of subjects falling within the scope of mandatory bargaining. Prior to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, there was little federal law defining collective bargaining or the means by which agreements could be enforced. 1 The Wagner Act of 1935 required employers to bargain in good faith, and the Supreme Court had made collective agreements predominant over individual contracts of employment. 2
The Wagner Act, however, did not focus upon dispute resolution and, certainly, not upon arbitration, except for its general encouragement of collective bargaining. The administration and enforcement of collective agreements was necessarily left to the vagaries of state law.
State courts, however, had initially encountered difficulty envisioning collective bargaining agreements as enforceable contracts or unions as____________________