National War Labor Board
(NWLB)
   The NWLB was created on 12 January 1942 within the Office of Emergency Management to resolve disputes between labor and management in defense industries through conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. The board consisted of 12 members equally representing trade unions, management, and public interest groups. Its responsibilities were extended to include wage stabilization. In total, it was involved in 17,650 disputes affecting 12 million workers. In July 1942, the NWLB adopted the “Little Steelformula to control wage rises by limiting wage increases to 15 percent over levels of January 1941 to cover the rise in the cost of living. Rises were further restricted from 1943 onward. The NWLB also introduced a “maintenance of membership” policy in 1942, which committed workers to union membership after an initial 15-day opting-out period at the start of defense contracts. When Sewell Avery of Montgomery Ward refused to accept the policy, he was physically removed from his office, and the company was twice taken over by the military. The board was transferred to the Department of Labor in 1945 and abolished in 1946.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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