The Taft-Hartley Act Passes over Truman’s Veto (Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series)
Article abstract: Superseding the prolabor Wagner Act, the Taft-Hartley Act invoked federal authority to restore a more popularly acceptable balance of power between management and unions.
Summary of Event
The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 represented a national reaction against the presumed excess of power wielded by labor unions in the aftermath of World War II. By 1946, it was widely believed that the labor reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administrations had pushed prolabor legislation too far and had unbalanced the operations of a competitive marketplace. Informed by vocal interest groups, a popular consensus developed around the notion that the existing statutory rules governing collective bargaining ignored the rights of employers, vitiated the rights of individual workers (notably those uninterested in joining unions), and jeopardized the public interest. These opinions were strongly reflected in the dominant mood of the Eightieth Congress, the members of which were overwhelmingly conservative and overwhelmingly Republican.
Specifically, many members of Congress believed that the time had come for amendment of the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, which deprived the federal courts of jurisdiction over most labor disputes, removed unions from subjection to the antitrust legislation of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, and ensured unions’ freedom to employ the full gamut of their organizing weapons to...
(The entire section is 2246 words.)
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