Three Years of National Labor Relations Act

July 1, 1938

Report Outline
Criticism of National Labor Relations Act
Background and Provisions of Labor Relations Act
Administration of the Labor Relations Act
Proposals for Modification of Labor Relations Act

Criticism of National Labor Relations Act

Demands for Repeal or Amendment of Labor Act

The National Labor Relations Act, signed by President Roosevelt en July 5, 1935, has been in effect for three years. As Edwin S. Smith, member of the National Labor Relations Board, pointed out in an address on June 18, “few governmental agencies have had a more tempestuous career.” Immediately after passage of the act, Smith said, “storm signals were run up and the board has been steering a course in the midst of heavy winds of criticism ever since.”

At the outset, the act was widely assailed as unconstitutional. Since April, 1937, when the Supreme Court closed the door to attacks on this ground, employers' organizations and other groups have charged that the law is one-sided in its operation, that the N. L. R. B. has been biased and arbitrary in enforcing it, and that, contrary to the law's purpose, the board's activities have increased industrial strife. Repeal, or at least amendment of the act to safeguard the rights of employers, has been demanded by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and many other business groups. Although supporting its main provisions, both the American Federation of Labor and the Committee for Industrial Organization have voiced dissatisfaction with the manner in which the law has been administered, each declaring that the board favors the form of union organization championed by the other.

While Congress gave no consideration at its last session to a series of amendments offered by Senator Vandenberg (R., Mich.) to “mutualize” the act, efforts to obtain a thorough revision of the law will be renewed when the new Congress meets in January. On June 3, in announcing his intention to establish a commission to study the workings of the British Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act of 1927, President Roosevelt emphatically denied published reports that the study would be directed toward amendment of the N. L. R. A., but notwithstanding the President's statement, the belief persisted in some quarters that the commission's report might pave the way for revision of the act.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Labor Unions
Aug. 07, 2015  Unions at a Crossroads
Sep. 02, 2005  Labor Unions' Future Updated
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”
Commercial Law
Labor Standards and Practices