Recent State Labor Relations Laws
Within the last 12 months, laws regulating some phase of employer-employee relationships have been enacted by the legislatures of more than half of the states. The legislation enacted in this field during the last year far exceeds that of any previous 12-month period both in volume and in importance. Five states set up labor-relations boards with powers similar to those exercised by the federal board established under the Wagner Act, while a number of other states set up mediation boards or improved existing machinery for the settlement of labor disputes. Several states undertook to limit the issuance of injunctions in labor controversies, to outlaw yellow-dog contracts, or to legalize picketing. A few other states banned sit-down strikes. Laws regulating the time and medium of wage payment, or the payment of workers during strikes and lockouts, were enacted in about a dozen states. Still other states imposed restrictions on the appointment of deputy sheriff or on the use of private detectives and company guards in labor disputes.
The present preoccupation of state legislatures with laws regulating labor relations is attributable primarily to: (1) the rapid growth of the labor movement during the upswing in the business cycle, (2) the increase in labor disputes by which this growth has been marked, and (3) the precedent created by the enactment of such federal legislation as the Norris-La Guardia anti-injunction law and the Wagner Labor Relations Act.
C. I. O.-A. F. of L. Campaign for State Legislation
Nearly all of the labor-relations legislation enacted in the states this year was favorable to organized labor and was placed on the statute books at its behest. Laws adopted in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont outlawing sit-down strikes represented the only legislation restricting union activities. Labor's determination to continue its drive for the enactment of favorable legislation was signalized by the adoption at the first convention of the Committee for Industrial Organization, at Atlantic City in mid-October, of a resolution directing its constituent unions to give their “full support” to a state legislative program consisting of eight “model bills.” These measures are designed to: