Compulsory Arbitration

August 15, 1947

Report Outline
Strike Emergencies and Strike Controls
Pros and Cons of Compulsory Arbitration
Experience with Compulsory Arbitration
New Compulsory Arbitration Measures

Strike Emergencies and Strike Controls

New Federal Procedure in Major Labor Disputes

The Taft-Hartley Labor Act, leading domestic measure of the new Republican Congress, has equipped the government with new powers in national strike emergencies, but it fails to provide the complete assurance desired by large sections of the general public that there shall be no future interruptions by work stoppages to vital services or the flow of vital commodities. The elaborate new procedures for dealing with labor disputes in essential industries include a strike ban, but this ban can be kept in effect for no more than 80 days. The public still remains subject to the inconveniences and hazards of work stoppages if stubborn disputes are not settled within the 80-day period.

The new labor law authorizes the President to appoint a board of inquiry in the event of an actual or threatened industry-wide, or virtually industry-wide, strike or lockout that would imperil the national health or safety. After the board has reported on the facts of the dispute, within such time as prescribed by the President, the Attorney General may petition the courts for an anti-strike injunction. When an injunction has been granted, the parties to the dispute are to resume efforts to adjust their differences, with the aid of the new Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the President is to reconvene the board of inquiry.

If the dispute has not been settled after the lapse of 60 days, the board is to report to the President the current positions of the parties and within 15 days the National Labor Relations Board is to poll the employees by secret ballot on whether they will accept the last offer of the employers. The result of the ballot is to be certified to the Attorney General within five days. The injunction is thereupon to be discharged, and if the employees have not accepted the employers' terms, they will be free to strike. Any further action will then be up to Congress, to whom the President is directed to submit a full report upon discharge of the injunction.

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Unions and Labor-Management Relations