Taft-Hartley Labor Act

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Taft-Hartley Labor Act

Taft-Hartley Labor Act, 1947, passed by the U.S. Congress, officially known as the Labor-Management Relations Act. Sponsored by Senator Robert Alphonso Taft and Representative Fred Allan Hartley, the act qualified or amended much of the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act of 1935, the federal law regulating labor relations of enterprises engaged in interstate commerce, and it nullified parts of the Federal Anti-Injunction (Norris-LaGuardia) Act of 1932. The act established control of labor disputes on a new basis by enlarging the National Labor Relations Board and providing that the union or the employer must, before terminating a collective-bargaining agreement, serve notice on the other party and on a government mediation service. The government was empowered to obtain an 80-day injunction against any strike that it deemed a peril to national health or safety. The act also prohibited jurisdictional strikes (dispute between two unions over which should act as the bargaining agent for the employees) and secondary boycotts (boycott against an already organized company doing business with another company that a union is trying to organize), declared that it did not extend protection to workers on wildcat strikes, outlawed the closed shop, and permitted the union shop only on a vote of a majority of the employees. Most of the collective-bargaining provisions were retained, with the extra provision that a union before using the facilities of the National Labor Relations Board must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor financial reports and affidavits that union officers are not Communists. The act also forbade unions to contribute to political campaigns. Although President Truman vetoed the act, it was passed over his veto. Federal courts have upheld major provisions of the act with the exception of the clauses about political expenditures. Attempts to repeal it have been unsuccessful, but the Landrum-Griffin Act (1959) amended some features of the Taft-Hartley Labor Act.

See bibliography under labor law.

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