Good Example Of Essay On Labor Laws

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Labor, Workplace, Union, Law, Employee, Management, Government, Board

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/23


The paper gives a brief account of various labor laws, such as the Railway Labor Act, the Norris-La Guardia Act, the Wagner Act, The Taft-Hartley Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act. It describes about the need of each law and its consequences. The paper mentions about the advantages and disadvantages of the laws to both the employees as well as the employers. It gives an insight of the provisions included in all the five labor laws. According to the year of enforcement, the paper determines the circumstances that forced the government to enforce the laws as an attempt to improve the working conditions of the labor. The paper also emphasizes on the unfair labor practices, which placed restrictions and limitations on the rights of the employees. It gives an opportunity to understand the views on the government about the management practices as well as the importance of the establishment of unions as a step forward to discriminate the awful management of the employers. Finally, the paper describes about the role of the Supreme Court, Congress, the Senate and the Representatives in transforming the recommendations for employee well-being into strict laws.
The railroads were one of the earliest industries, which had unionization of employees. They were the target of several violent strikes during the nineteenth century. The importance of railroads for the nation’s economic development and their essentiality as a public utility made disruptive efforts of labor disputes involving the railroads as a major government concern. The Railway Labor Act passed in the year 1926 allowed the railroad employees to designate bargaining representatives of their own choosing, free from employer interference . The act established a three step procedure for settling down the disputes. The first step involved using a federal mediation board attempting to facilitate negotiation of the differences between the parties. The second step of the procedure involved inducing the parties to arbitrate the dispute.
Finally, in the case of refusal of the arbitration, the board would recommend to the president for the creation of an emergency board of investigation. In the absence of the creation of an emergency board, the parties had to maintain a status quo for thirty days. On the expiration of the cooling-off period, the union retained its right to strike and the employer had permission to lock out. The Railway Labor Act also provided that both the labor as well as the management had the right to designate bargaining representatives without the influence, interference or coercion of the other party. Congress amended the act in 1934, 1936, 1951 and 1966 . The act extended to airline employees and the unions representing both airline and railroad could bargain for a union shop provision.
In 1932, Congress enacted one of the first pro-labor laws outside the railroad industry, called the Norris-La Guardia Act. The act acquired its name from the sponsors of the original bill, Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska and Representative Fiorello H. La Guardia of New York . The preamble of the act makes clear the public policy of the United States and reflects the pro-labor attitude of the nation during the period. The act granted the owners as well as the workers the right to organize associations for the purpose of collective bargaining or mutual aid. It curtailed the ability of the management to receive federal injunctions during labor disputes. The act provided with the unions the opportunity to appear in the court and present opposing arguments.
The provisions of the Norris-La Guardia Act forbid the federal courts to issue injunctions against stopping or refusing to work, union membership, paying or withholding strike benefits and unemployment benefits to those engaging in a labor dispute. The act allows publicizing a labor dispute in a non-violent manner and forbids the employers to require employees signing yellow-dog contracts . The act provided a wide range of aggressive tactics to the unions and enhanced their ability to achieve their objectives. Its main impact was to permit the unions to exert economic pressure against employees. It placed no affirmative obligation on the employers to negotiate with or recognize the labor unions. The act also offers aid for persons suing or being sued.
The Wagner Act or the National Labor Relations Act introduced by Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York in the year 1935 is one of the most important labor laws. According to the act, employees have the right to form, join or assist the labor organizations. They also have the permission to bargain through the representatives they choose. The act also protects the workers against employer interference through five unfair labor practices, such as discrimination in hiring or tenure to influence union affiliation or discourage union activities, discrimination for filing charges or giving testimony under the act, refusal to bargain collectively with a duly designated representative of the employees and domination of a labor organization . The labor movement secured phenomenal growth and strength with the enforcement of the Wagner Act.
Employers undertook action to review the new law by the Supreme Court as an effort to declare it unconstitutional as it involves excess federal power in the regulation of state commerce. The Wagner Act represented a conscious effort to strengthen trade unionism. The act specifically outlawed yellow-dog contracts and gave an account of which employer practices interfered with the rights of the workers to choose their own collective bargaining representatives . It established a three-person National Labor Relations Board with the authority to implement the law and the power to enforce its decisions by going directly to the circuit court of appeals. The act left the workers and their unions with undiminished right to strike over wages, hours, working conditions except the representation rights.
The Taft-Hartley Act or the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 was the first large-scale revision of the major New Deal Program. It was an amendment of the Wagner Act. The Taft-Hartley Act placed a number of restrictions on labor union practices during a period of increasing hostility to labor as a result of the post-World War II strike wave . It positioned the government in the role of a referee to ensure that both the unions as well as the employers deal fairly with each other. The act forbids the unions and the employers from forcing the employees who do not want to join in a union. It played a major role in equalizing the powers of the labors and management. The act placed a ban on judicial strikes and secondary boycotts. It placed restrictions on union security practices.
The Taft-Hartley Act restructures the National Labor Relations Board by dividing its authority into two categories, namely the General Counsel and the rest of the Board . The most important provision of the act was the free-speech clause, which gave the right to the management to express its views and opinions about the unions to its employees provided the employees carry no threat of force. The act forbids charging excessive initiation fees in the requirement of union membership for union shop agreement. While the Wagner Act permitted closed and preferential shops, the Taft-Hartley Act proved it illegal. However, in the construction industry, the act made it a mandate that the employees take a union membership of their choice within seven days of employment.
Even after the enforcement of the Taft-Hartley Act, improper activities, such as corruption continued to take place among the members of the unions. Public hearings in the years 1957 and 1958 by the Senate Select Committee convinced the Congress that legislation was necessary to regulate the internal affairs of unions and eliminate corrupt practices. Accordingly, the Congress passed the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act . The act also amended the Wagner Act including the tightening of the ban on secondary boycotts and added a new union unfair labor practice to outlaw extended picketing for the purpose of recognition. The act guaranteed the union members the right to vote in the union elections.
According to the Landrum-Griffin Act, the employees of the unions should report any financial dealings that might affect the interests of the union members. The most important provision of the Landrum-Griffin Act is the Bill of Rights of Union Members, which states certain rights of the union members, such as nominating candidates for the union office . The members of the union also have the right to bring suit against the union officials who misuse the funds of the unions. It is a mandate that each union files a constitution and bylaws with the United States Department of Labor. The act also makes a mention that every local labor organization must elect its officers at least once every three years by secret ballot among the members in good standing.


Bridegam, M. A. (2009). Unions and Labor Laws. Infobase Publishing.
Byars, L. L., & Rue, L. W. (2011). Human Resource Management, 10th Edition. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Cihon, P., & Castagnera, J. (2013). Employment and Labor Law. Cengage Learning.
Dubofsky, M. (1994). The State & Labor in Modern America. Univ of North Carolina Press.
Strecker, D. E. (2011). Labor Law: A Basic Guide to the National Labor Relations Act. CRC Press.

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