Taft–Hartley Act

Taft–Hartley Act

The Taft-Hartley Act was identified by trade unions when it was adopted as a “slave-labor law” and many of its pro-Congress supporters felt that the law would impede the power of trade unions. The Labor-Management Relations Act 1947, better known as the Taft as Hartley Act, is a federal law in the United States that limits the activities and powers of trade unions. The fear of communist infiltration of trade unions, the tremendous increase in both membership and strength of unions, and the multi-level strike contributed to a number of factors, including contributing to the anti-union climate in the United States after World War II. In both houses of Congress, Republican descent – the first since 1930 – sought to remedy union violations approved under Wagner’s law. It was enacted by the 70th U.S. Congress with the veto of President Harry S. Truman, becoming law on June 23, 1947.

In mid-1946 elections, Republicans gained control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 1931. At that time there was a growing fear of communist infiltration in the trade unions. Sen. Robert A. Taft (Ohio) and delegates sponsored the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947. Upon receipt of the board’s report, the president may request a federal court order restraining or preventing the attorney general from taking or continuing any strike action. If the court finds that the strike is endangering the health or safety of the public, it can grant a restraining order and order the disputing parties to reach a settlement within 60 days. Although it was enacted by the Republican-controlled 80th Congress, the law received significant support from congressional Democrats, many of whom joined their Republican colleagues to override Truman’s veto. Opposition to the law has continued since Truman left power, but it remains in effect. The definition of unfair labor practices has been narrowed Unfair union practices have limited the political contribution of unions and required the denial of any communist organization under the oath of union officers.

The Taft-Hartley Act amended the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 to prohibit unions from engaging in a number of “unfair labor practices”. Exercises prohibited by this law include unilateral strikes, wildcat strikes, solidarity or political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass-picketing, closed shops, and financial aid to unions in federal political campaigns. The Landram-Griffin Act of 1959 imposed further union restrictions, excluding minor boycotts and restricting picket rights. The NLRA also allowed states to pass right-to-work laws banning union stores. The law, enacted in the early stages of the Cold War, required union officers to sign non-communist affidavits with the government.

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