Closed Shop

March 5, 1949

Report Outline
Union Security Issue in Labor Law Revision
Closed Shop in American Labor Relations
State Laws to Protect the Right to Work

Union Security Issue in Labor Law Revision

Whether to remove or retain the federal ban on the closed shop, imposed by the Taft-Hartley Act, is one of the main controversial issues with which Congress is having to deal in writing a new labor relations law. The administration is committed to removal of the ban, but strong voices were raised in behalf of its retention at the Senate Labor Committee's hearings on the pending bill. As the session proceeds, it is becoming apparent that Republicans and southern Democrats together may be able to force concessions from the administration on various points of its labor program. If the measure finally enacted is to be studded with compromises, as now seems likely, it is by no means certain that the proposal for complete removal of the prohibition on the closed shop will be accepted without change.

A new threat to the administration's plans came up on Feb. 23, last day of the Senate hearings, when two Negro witnesses elicited a favorable response from Republican members of the committee when they demanded that anti-discrimination provisions be written into the labor bill. The purpose, among other things, would be to meet complaints that arise when the closed-shop policy is pursued by closed unions, particularly unions closed to Negroes. But if the civil rights issue is injected into the controversy over labor law revision, it will be a complicating factor that might force further compromises and further delay of the administration's program.

Union Security and Coming Contract Negotiations

During the recent period of full employment and rising prices, chief emphasis in collective-bargaining negotiations was on demands for wage increases. However, the closed shop, the union shop, and other measures for union security are basic objectives of the labor movement. If the current pause in the postwar boom continues and widens, labor leaders may be expected to lay more stress on contract provisions to protect and strengthen union organization. And if the nation's economy is undergoing only a leveling-off process, to be followed by a period of relative price stability, the absence of further advances in the cost of living also might well lead to modification of demands for fourth-round wage increases and to intensification of demands for union security.

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”
Government Labor-Management Relations
Unions and Labor-Management Relations