Taft–Hartley Act

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The Labor–Management Relations Act (Pub.L. 80-101, 61 Stat. 136, enacted June 23, 1947, informally the Taft–Hartley Act) is a United States federal law that monitors the activities and power of labor unions. The act, still effective, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and legislated by overriding U.S. President Harry S. Truman's veto on June 23, 1947; labor leaders called it the "slave-labor bill"[1] while President Truman argued it would "conflict with important principles of our democratic society,"[2] though he would subsequently use it twelve times during his presidency.[3] The Taft–Hartley Act amended the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA; informally the Wagner Act), which Congress passed in 1935. The principal author of the Taft–Hartley Act was J. Mack Swigert[4] of the Cincinnati law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister.

Contents

Background

Taft–Hartley was one of more than 250 union-related bills pending in both houses of Congress in 1947.[3] As a response to rising union radicalism and Cold War hostilities, the bill could be seen as a response by business to the post-World War II labor upsurge of 1946. During the year after V-J Day, more than five million American workers were involved in strikes, which lasted on average four times longer than those during the war.[5] The Taft–Hartley Act was seen as a means of demobilizing the labor movement by imposing limits on labor's ability to strike and by prohibiting radicals from their leadership, people who were typically more active in union activities.[6]

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