Happy 60th Birthday, Taft-Hartley, Our Lovely Child

By July 13, 2007General

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, the official declaration of war against U.S. labor, is still in force. Written and forced through Congress by the powerful National Association of Manufacturers, this legislation outlaws or restricts labor’s basic organizing tools.

Oh, for the good old days, when the NAM could force legislation through Congress.

This excerpt comes from “The Fight of Our Lives: The War of Attrition against U.S. Labor,” from the latest Monthly Review, an on-line Marxist magazine.

And we’re just cracking wise about Taft-Hartley and the NAM’s influence, then and now. More seriously, the Labor-Management Relations Act passed June 23rd over President Truman’s veto of June 20, 1947. Accordingly, this summer the United States is marking the 60th anniversary of Taft-Hartley, which restored the balance to labor-management relations that had skewed toward Big Labor during the Roosevelt era. Among other things, the law reaffirmed employers’ constitutional rights to speak out on unionization, outlawed the closed shop, prohibited secondary strikes, and created the laws allowing companies to request a secret-ballot election if a union sought to organize the workplace. The so-called Employee Free Choice Act, blocked last month in the Senate, sought to eliminate the latter provision, which protects the rights of employees not to be dragooned into a union. (Blog posts on the anti-democratic card check are here.)

Interestingly enough, almost the only commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Taft-Hartley came from organized labor and the Marxists. Many labor leaders still covet the unbridled power they enjoyed before Taft-Hartley went into effect. Sixty years of settled labor law is their enemy.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jimmie Davis says:

    Thanks for reminding me why I joined the union in the first place. IBEW Local 569, San Diego, Ca.

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