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Labor's Options

August 20, 1976

Report Outline
Problems Facing Organized Labor
Labor Union Growth and Conflict
Prospects of Greater Labor Power
Special Focus

Problems Facing Organized Labor

Labor day 1976 will be more than just another occasion for honoring American workers. Organized labor's influence on the nation's political and economic well-being is heightened this year by the conjunction of a presidential campaign with a still-shaky economic recovery. Wage demands and strikes by both private and public employees this year often have been viewed as a threat to price stability. Labor's image has also been marred by government investigations of union corruption, a citizen backlash over public-employee assertiveness, and reports of dissension within unions.

But despite these and other problems, the unions remain strong. Organized workers account for about 25 per cent of the nation's labor force and their numbers alone—about 25 million—give the unions considerable political leverage. Labor's influence is reflected in the 1976 Democratic Party platform. It pledges to support a host of union goals—to reduce unemployment, to bring about “relative price stability,” to establish the “right of public employees and agricultural workers to organize and bargain collectively,” and to repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act which allows states to forbid the union shop.

In contrast to four years ago, when AFL-CIO President George Meany and many other labor leaders refused to back George McGovern against President Nixon, most unions have returned to their tradition of supporting the Democratic presidential nominee. They have declared their support for Jimmy Carter, even though Sens. Henry M. Jackson (D Wash.) and Hubert H. Humphrey (D Minn.) were labor's early favorites. President Leonard Woodcock of the United Auto Workers (UAW), the first labor leader to endorse Carter, is mentioned frequently as a likely choice for Secretary of Labor or of Health, Education, and Welfare if Carter is elected in November.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Labor Unions
Sep. 02, 2005  Labor Unions' FutureUpdated
Jun. 28, 1996  Labor Movement's Future
Jun. 14, 1985  Organized Labor in the 1980s
Nov. 06, 1981  Labor Under Siege
Mar. 24, 1978  Labor's Southern Strategy
Aug. 20, 1976  Labor's Options
Oct. 27, 1971  Organized Labor After the Freeze
Oct. 19, 1966  Labor Strife and the Public Interest
Jan. 30, 1963  Strike Action and the Law
Sep. 20, 1961  Conflicts in Organized Labor
Aug. 04, 1960  Labor, Management, and the National Interest
Dec. 16, 1959  Future of Free Collective Bargaining
Nov. 04, 1959  Featherbedding and Union Work Rules
Feb. 18, 1959  Public Intervention in Labor Disputes
Jul. 09, 1958  Suits Against Labor Unions
Nov. 13, 1957  Right-To-Work Laws
Oct. 31, 1956  Union Organizing
May 01, 1954  State Powers in Labor Relations
Oct. 02, 1953  Toward Labor Unity
Apr. 11, 1953  Industry-Wide Bargaining and Industry-Wide Strikes
Sep. 03, 1952  Labor and Politics
Mar. 25, 1950  Labor Injunctions
Jan. 25, 1950  Trade Unions and Productivity
Sep. 26, 1949  Fact-Finding Boards in Labor Disputes
Mar. 05, 1949  Closed Shop
Dec. 01, 1948  Revision of the Taft-Hartley Act
Jan. 01, 1947  Labor Unions, the Public and the Law
Oct. 09, 1946  Revision of the Wagner Act
Sep. 25, 1946  Labor Productivity
May 29, 1946  Labor Organization in the South
Jan. 30, 1946  Compulsory Settlement of Labor Disputes
May 18, 1945  Labor Policy After the War
Mar. 29, 1945  Union Maintenance
Feb. 02, 1945  Labor Relations in Coal Mining
Oct. 12, 1944  No-Strike Pledge
Sep. 16, 1944  Political Action by Organized Labor
May 30, 1944  Unionization of Foremen
Apr. 01, 1944  Dismissal Pay
Apr. 29, 1943  Labor in Government
Apr. 09, 1943  Public Regulation of Trade Unions
Nov. 19, 1941  Labor Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 23, 1941  Closed Shop Issue in Labor Relations
Mar. 29, 1941  Labor as Partner in Production
Feb. 12, 1941  Labor and the Defense Program
Feb. 23, 1940  Labor in Politics
Jan. 17, 1939  Settlement of Disputes Between Labor Unions
Jul. 01, 1938  Three Years of National Labor Relations Act
Nov. 12, 1937  State Regulation of Labor Relations
Jul. 10, 1937  Restrictions on the Right to Strike
Apr. 28, 1937  The Labor Market and the Unemployed
Mar. 26, 1937  Control of the Sit-Down Strike
Mar. 13, 1937  Collective Bargaining in the Soft-Coal Industry
Jan. 22, 1937  Responsibility of Labor Unions
Nov. 11, 1936  Industrial Unionism and the A.F. of L.
Jul. 30, 1936  Federal Intervention in Labor Disputes
Jul. 14, 1936  Labor Relations in the Steel Industry
Apr. 17, 1934  Company Unions and Collective Bargaining
Feb. 07, 1934  Settlement of Labor Disputes
Sep. 12, 1933  Trade Unionism Under the Recovery Program
Feb. 17, 1932  Wage Concessions by Trade Unions
Oct. 01, 1929  Status of the American Labor Movement
Jul. 20, 1929  Trade Unionism in the South
Aug. 31, 1928  Organized Labor in National Politics
Feb. 04, 1928  The Use of Injunctions in Labor Disputes
Sep. 09, 1927  Organized Labor and the Works Council Movement
Oct. 12, 1923  The A.F. of L. and the “New Radicalism”
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
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