Labor Law or Labor Unions Term Paper

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Labor Union Acts

The rights of the American workers and their relationship within their labor Unions have been built up over a long period of time. For the greatest part of this time, Soviet Union was the greatest economic and philosophic opponent of United States and this relationship was used to often control the labor unions and the laborers.

Let us start with the first law that was passed, and this is the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932. We will not get into the semantics and simply state what the law wanted to do. It gave the workers a right to join a Labor Union while in employment and this was through banning of what is called yellow dog contracts. This gave the labor unions the right to organize themselves among workers and stopped court injunctions during labor disputes with management. (Norris-LaGuardia Act) As one can see the greatest emphasis is on what has been called yellow dog contract. This contract is between the employer and the employee promises not to join a labor union during employment as a part of his employment contract. This has been made illegal, but in quite a few states in United States, in spite of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, there are right to work laws which stop the formation of unions. It does not violate the Norris LaGuardia Act, but still permits yellow dogs to work. (Yellow-dog contract)Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Labor Law or Labor Unions Assignment

This makes it clear that when the government wants, it can support any side of labor or workers as it chooses to. Of course at all stages, the support is obviously given due to the money involved. The power of industrial management is much higher to provide money to politicians for elections and other purposes, and this gives them a better deal in all such cases. This sort of an issue was clearly an issue of workers' rights and yet, even today, it is not being permitted in certain states. Unions are not being permitted to organize labor freely, though that also recognizes the rights of workers not to become members of labor unions should they choose to. The question is, why stop them through contracts?

In comparison, the National Labor Relations Act or the Wagner Act of 1935 is a better measure as it also has certain built in methods to make sure that it is enforced. This was also created by the congress to ensure the rights of unionization by the workers. The enforcement of the act is to be made through the National Labor Relations Board. The National Labor Relations Board conducts secret ballot elections within organizations to find out whether the employees want to be represented by an union or not. This also conducts investigations into allegations of unfair labor practices by either the employers or the unions. This act guarantees the un-supervised employees a right to be organized, choose their own representatives, and bargain in a united manner with the employees. If they want, they may not do any one or all of those actions they are permitted to do by the act. This is quite clear that the act permits the employees to organize and bargain collectively or not to organize. (The NLRB: The Wagner Act of 1935)

This act applies to all workers involved in most activities, but it does not apply to workers in airlines, railroads, agriculture and government. Over the years, the act has been changed and the applicable laws have been developed by the courts from the original act. The act has made it illegal for both the employers and labor unions to interfere with the rights of the workers and the establishment of National Labor Relations Board is only for conducting hearings of cases which involve unfair labor practices. The NLRB is an independent body that was created by Wagner Act to oversee the laws, investigating cases, and hold hearings on complaints of unfair labor practices. They have to determine the problems, take action against employers who are found guilty of unfair labor practices, to find out the make up of individual employee bargaining units and check union certifications. (The NLRB: The Wagner Act of 1935)

This is connected to some extent with the previous act, Norris LaGuardia Act, as this also has to make sure that employers do not have discriminatory practices against union members. These have been reflected in cases where the employers have not hired a person as they belonged to a union or not rehired seasonal workers who have joined unions. There have also been cases where employees have been laid off, demoted, or transferred to a less desirable job or location because of union membership. The present labor laws give the employees the right of forming unions, and stops employees or allow them to engage in strikes and picketing under certain conditions. Similarly under certain conditions the employers are also permitted to declare lockouts.

All steps taken by employers or employees are for the sole purpose of getting their demand or demands fulfilled. There are many federal government and state government laws in this matter. There are also regulations and previous decisions of the administrative agencies. Thus the relationship of employers and employees are governed by many laws, yet Wagner Act is probably the first act for labor that has given administrative support for the labor, unionization and collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board was created through this act. This is a board with five members appointed by the President and the Senate with a term of five years for the board. The offices of the board are spread in thirty regional offices, all of whom have to report to the head office in Washington. (The NLRB: The Wagner Act of 1935) This is certainly a step forward for the labor.

The next act was the Taft Hartley Act which was passed in 1947. This is also known as the Labor-Management Relations Act. This act has removed a major portion of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and amended a large portion of the Wagner Act that had been passed in 1935. Both of those acts have been discussed earlier. This act further strengthened the National Labor Relations Board, the role of which has also been discussed. This act provides that both the union and the employer have to provide notice before they ended a previously agreed collective bargaining agreement to the opposite party as also to a government mediation service. The government also now has the power to attain an 80 day injunction to stop any strike that it felt to be a danger to national health or safety. The new act also stops strikes bade on jurisdiction of two unions both of whom should be acting as bargaining agents for the employees or secondary boycotts meaning that boycotts against a company already doing business with another company in which the union is trying to organize a union. (Taft Hartley Labor Act)

The government and this act has also declared that it would not support wildcat strikes, outlawed the policy of closed shops and permitted an union to come up only through gaining a vote of the majority of employees. The greatest sections of the collective bargaining provisions were maintained with an extra provision. This was that a union which wanted to use the facilities of the National Labor Relations Board must give a declaration that the union officers are not communists. The new act also stopped unions from contributing to political campaigns. The act was passed in a peculiar manner, and then President Truman vetoed the act, it was still passed. In the courts, the act has been upheld except that clause about making political donations. There have been many efforts to get the act repealed, but only some extent of amendments could be done with the Landrum Griffin Act of 1959. (Taft Hartley Labor Act)

The last of the labor laws in United States has been the Landrum Griffin Act and this is also called the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The act deals mainly with the relationship between the unions and their members. The aim is to protect the democratic rights of the union members and also their interests through promotion of democratic processes within the labor organizations. This act can be viewed somewhat like a Bill of Rights for members of unions. It also specifies reporting requirements for labor organizations, union officers and employees, employers, labor relations consultants and surety companies; standards for regular elections of union officers and safeguards for the protection of funds and assets of labor organizations. Another important feature is that enforcement of certain provisions with the Secretary of Labor has now been shifted to the Office of Labor Management Standards in the employment Standards Administration of the Department of Labor. The law was originally passed on September 14, 1959 and then amended subsequently on September 29, 1965; again on October 12, 1984; again on December 26, 1985; and on December 7, 1987. (Unions and their members: The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act)


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How to Cite "Labor Law or Labor Unions" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Labor Law or Labor Unions.  (2005, September 2).  Retrieved January 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Labor Law or Labor Unions."  2 September 2005.  Web.  24 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Labor Law or Labor Unions."  September 2, 2005.  Accessed January 24, 2021.