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

By Elias Lieberman | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK is primarily for the layman, for the many men and women who have a genuine interest in the exciting topic of labor rights, but who are not trained to deal with legal technicalities. My aim was to make the book informative without being technical. The court cases were "humanized" without, however, sacrificing legal accuracy. Each chapter is a story of a labor case which helped shape the rights of unions in the United States. As the cases unfold themselves, the reader is likely to become aware of the interplay of the social and economic forces in our economy and of the changing position of labor in our society.

The tremendously important position labor unions occupy in our industrial scene makes them a heated issue in the halls of Congress, the state legislatures, the press, and the courts. This book portrays historic stages in the development of labor rights in our country from the early days of the Republic. It seeks to throw light on the changing attitudes of society and the judiciary toward labor unions.

Out of the welter of legal material during the past one hundred and forty-five years, only twenty-five cases were selected. These are the outstanding cases germane to the main theme -- the evolution of union rights -- that have been passed upon by the highest court of the land. I deemed it advisable to restrict the book to cases which have been passed upon by the Supreme Court of the United States and, therefore, I omitted state court cases regardless of their importance. I made an exception with respect to the two earliest cases (Chapters 1 and 2) and the controversial Taft-Hartley Act (Chapter 24) because of their significance and direct influence on the main theme -- the evolution of labor rights in the United States.

Several people directly and indirectly contributed to my thinking and the shaping of this book but I am especially indebted to:

Dorothy Lieberman, my wife, for inspiring me to write this book

-ix-

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