- Wagner, Robert Ferdinand
- (1877-1953)Robert F. Wagner was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1885. They settled in New York City, where Wagner attended City College of New York and New York Law School. He qualified in law in 1900 and established a law practice. He was elected as a Democrat to the New York State Assembly in 1905 and then to the state senate in 1909. He was chairman of the State Factory Investigating Committee from 1911 to 1915 and justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1919 to 1926. Together with Alfred E. Smith, Wagner promoted several pieces of reform legislation to improve labor conditions in New York. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1926, where he served until his resignation due to ill-health in 1949.Wagner chaired several committees and sponsored several major pieces of social reform legislation in the New Deal, like the National Industrial Recovery Act and Social Security Act. He was best known as the author of the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act, of 1935 that established the National Labor Relations Board and recognized workers’ rights to free collective bargaining. With Edward Costigan, Democratic senator for Colorado, he was also cosponsor of the unsuccessful Federal Antilynching Bill in 1934 and 1935. Wagner also supported passage of the Housing Act in 1937. He was a delegate to the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. After World War II, Wagner saw some of his proposals included in President Harry S. Truman’s Fair Deal. Poor health forced him to resign his seat in 1949 before much could come to fruition.See also Trade Unions.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.