The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 or Wagner act was introduced with the intention to protect the rights of the workers. During this time there were many instances of the harassment of the laborers by the employers. This act ensured the right of the employees to collective bargaining which was necessary for the laborers to bargain with the employers for their rights. In order to enforce this act National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created and it was given wide powers to determine the relationship between the employer and the employee.
In the light of the fact that the employers were adopting various anti worker policies, this act was successful in protecting the interest of the workers.(Bain, n.d.)
This is the main reason for its popularity among the workers who were allowed the right to unionize. The NLRB can be approached by the labor unions with the request to arrange for the secret ballots while forming the labor union. This act gives the laborers the right to bargain with the employers, fight against injustice through strike and lock out.(Bain, n.d.) The employees are also given the option not to indulge in unionization activities.
Before forming the unions the NLRB is supposed to be convinced with the fact that a particular labor union would represent the interest of all the employees. The labor union should represent the interest of the laborers who share similar problems and interest. By conducting the operations to establish their own unions, the NLRB was expected to safeguard the interest of the workers.(Bain, n.d.)
The employers are also expected to follow the labor law which is controlled by the federal and the state governments. The employees can approach NLRB whenever they find that there are unfair labor practices. Both the employees and employers are not supposed to indulge in unfair labor practices. The employers are expected not to discriminate against the union members while recruiting them and while continuing their service.
More often it is found that the management used to hire the workers who were not the members of the labor unions or who did not agree with the ideology of the unions. (Bain, n.d.) When such unfair labor practices occur, the labor unions can approach the NLRB which uses its power to investigate into the allegations of exploitation of the laborers by the employers. The main duty of the NLRB is to maintain the cordial relationship between the workers and the employers.
Through this particular act the government attempted to avoid the exploitation of the workers. These sections of the Wagner act satisfied the demands of the workers and naturally they favored this act. NLRB has handled thousands of cases concerning unfair labor practices. These cases show that the Wagner act has succeeded in protecting the interest of the workers. The workers have been able to unionize or not to unionize and they are given the power to go on strikes. Legitimate strikes are supported by the NLRB leading to the protection of the rights of the workers. (Bain, n.d.)
Another important labor and management relations act was Taft-Hartley act which was introduced in the year 1947. The anti labor provisions in this act evoked immediate reaction by the labor unions which, obviously, did not like the anti labor clauses in this act. The Taft-Hartley act has many clauses which protect the interest of the employers. The various rights sanctioned by the Wagner act are withdrawn by the Taft-Hartley act. This act restricted the labor union activities such as strikes, picketing, lock out, secondary boycotts and closed shops.
The state can prohibit a strike which affected the public health and national security. Using these clauses jurisdictional injunctions could be obtained prohibiting such activities of the labor unions. The states could invoke right-to-work laws which allowed the union members not to participate in the strike.(Wikipedia, 2006) This act also discontinued the closed shops practice which had compelled the employers to provide job security to members of the unions. The power of the laborers to enforce union security clauses have been restricted by this act. The courts are given the power to investigate the financial statements of the unions in order to ensure that all the laborers are provided representation by the unions.
The states could approach the courts and obtain injunctions which restricted the rights of the workers to go on strike. Instead of strike, the act encourages the use of other means to bargain with the employers. The workers are required to give 60 days notice to the employers and the mediating agency regarding their activities. The employers can approach the authorities to restrict the activities of the labor unions. The employees also can approach the authorities requesting that they should be allowed to work against the orders of the union. Many states have used these jurisdictional injunctions to restrict the labor union activities. This law has been criticized by the laborers as anti labor.
This act also gives the discretionary powers to the President to outlaw a particular strike or lock out declared by the labor unions. These powers have been used by the American presidents to control the labor unions. The unions are also expected to declare that they are not the members of the communist party. The unions are not allowed to give monetary donations to political campaigns and such other political activities. Due to these anti labor clauses, the laborers did not favor this law. (Wikipedia, 2006)
The above details show that the laborers liked the provisions of the Wagner act of 1935 while they opposed the provisions of the Taft-Hartley act.
Bain, Brian. (n.d.). The NLRB: The Wagner Act of 1935. St.francis.edu. Retrieved 17 March
2006 from <http://www.stfrancis.edu/ba/ghkickul/stuwebs/btopics/works/wagner.htm>
(2006). Taft-Hartley Act. Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 March 2006 from