Taft-Hartley Act, 1947

   Named after the respective chairmen of the two congressional labor committees, Senator Robert A. Taft and representative Fred L. Hartley Jr., the Taft-Hartley Act, also known as the Labor-Management Relations Act, was passed over President Harry S. Truman’s veto on 23 June 1947. The measure was introduced following a wave of strikes in 1946 and increasing criticism of trade unions. The Republican Party’s victories in the congressional elections that year gave conservatives the majorities to enact legislation to curb labor. The act increased the membership of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from three to five, made it illegal for workers to impose a closed shop, only allowed a union shop after a majority vote of all employees. The act required workers to agree in writing for union dues to be deducted from paychecks, prohibited secondary strikes, and banned strikes among federal employees. To prevent “wildcat” strikes, the act required an 80- day cooling-off period. Unions and employers were both prohibited from using coercive measures. The act also prevented unions from contributing directly to political campaigns, and it required union leaders to file affidavits confirming that they were not members of the Communist Party of the United States of America before they could apply to the NLRB.
   The Taft-Hartley Act became the focus of trade union opposition and in 1948 threw support behind Truman in the election campaign. While the act remains on the statute books, it has not had the limiting force that many anticipated.

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

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