Revision of the Taft-Hartley Act

December 1, 1948

Report Outline
Taft-Hartley Act and the 1948 Election
Labor Relations Under Taft-Hartley Act
Truman's Proposals for Labor Legislation
Special Focus

Taft-Hartley Act and the 1948 Election

Democratic Mandate to Repeal Taft-Hartley Act

Election of President Truman and a Democratic Congress on Nov. 2 foreshadowed an early and thorough overhauling of federal labor legislation. Whether the labor vote or the farm vote was primarily responsible for the President's surprise success at the polls, the Democrats were heavily concentrated in the rural South and West, and the election results have been widely interpreted as a mandate to repeal the Labor Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act of 1947. During the campaign President Truman and other Democratic candidates called repeatedly for that action, and the labor plank of their party platform led off with the unequivocal statement: “We advocate the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act.”

Democratic campaigners emphasized repeal and no more, but it has been made clear since the election that the Truman administration will not ask the 81st Congress simply to erase the Taft-Hartley Act and rest on a restored and unamended Wagner Act. The President's postwar labor record would have belied any such assumption. The Democratic platform, moreover, recognized a need for additional legislation on labor relations. What is really in store, therefore, is not repeal but revision of the existing law. Although the new Congress probably will go through the form of repealing the Taft-Hartley Act, it will no doubt substitute for it something less restrictive than the Republican statute but more restrictive than the original National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act of 1935.

That the administration was not thinking in terms of mere repeal became plain only two days after the election, when Secretary of Labor Tobin said that passage of a new labor measure, “fair to both workers and management,” would be one of the first recommendations submitted to Congress in January. At a press conference, Nov. 8, Tobin coupled “outright repeal” of the Taft-Hartley Act with its replacement by a “just law” and confirmed that Labor Department lawyers already were preparing suggestions in that regard for the President's consideration.

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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
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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
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