Unions and the Labor Movement

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What is the Railway Labor Act (RLA), and why is it important?

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The RLA was a piece of legislation designed to replace the Arbitration Act which was passed after the railway strike of 1877.  Basically people were concerned about the ability of unions to cause major disruptions in something as vital as the railroads (later expanded to cover the airlines) and Congress...

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The RLA was a piece of legislation designed to replace the Arbitration Act which was passed after the railway strike of 1877.  Basically people were concerned about the ability of unions to cause major disruptions in something as vital as the railroads (later expanded to cover the airlines) and Congress created a mechanism whereby a federal board of mediation could investigate labor claims and issue non-binding recommendations and act as a go-between.

Depending on how you look at it, it is a positive thing to prevent strikes being put down by federal troops but it also opens the door for the wholesale firing of the air traffic controllers and their replacement, and some would argue completely cuts the legs out from under any real union power.

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