Industry-Wide Bargaining and Industry-Wide Strikes

April 11, 1953

Report Outline
Revision of Six-Year-Old Taft-Hartley Act
Controversy Over Industry-Wide Bargaining
Prevention of National Emergency Strikes

Revision of Six-Year-Old Taft-Hartley Act

“Proposals for removing or minimizing the threat of work stoppages that endanger the national health or safety promise to be a subject of lively debate during the long period, already begun, in which Congress wrestles with revision of the Taft-Hartley Act. When the House Committee on Education and Labor opened hearings on labor-management relations, Feb. 10, the lead-off witness was Rep. Lucas (D., Tex,), sponsor of a bill to curtail industry-wide bargaining and ban industry-wide strikes. And at the start on Mar. 24 of a scheduled six weeks of hearings before the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Sen. Taft (R., Ohio) urged study of the procedure for handling so-called national emergency strikes that was prescribed by the law which bears his name. In the meantime, other witnesses have advocated a variety of methods of dealing with dangerous strike threats or have picked holes in the measures suggested.

End of Political Deadlock on Taft-Hartley Revision

Supporters of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, which was put on the statute books over President Truman's veto by the Republican-controlled 80th Congress, were prepared in 1949 to accept revision of the law in numerous particulars. The Democratic platform of the preceding year had pledged outright repeal, however, and the President had made repeal a leading issue in his successful campaign for return to the White House. An administration bill to repeal Taft-Hartley and reinstate the Wagner Act of 1935 with certain changes was reported in Senate and House but ran into difficulties in both chambers. Sen. Taft proposed 29 amendments to the existing statute and won Senate assent to all of them. But the struggle between advocates of repeal and adherents of revision ended in a stalemate when the House, which had passed and then recommitted a compromise measure, failed to act on the Senate-approved bill.

With both sides maintaining their respective positions, and neither commanding sufficient strength to carry the day, there was no serious attempt during the ensuing three years to make overall changes in labor relations legislation. A thorough reconsideration of the basic statute became a practical possibility only after the shift of political control in Congress and the White House brought about by the 1952 election. President Eisenhower said in his State of the Union message on Feb. 2 that experience under Taft-Hartley had “shown the need for some corrective action and we should promptly proceed to amend that act.” Organized labor, though no more friendly to Taft-Hartley than formerly, recognized that the fight for outright repeal was lost and that it would be to its interest to cooperate as far as possible in the task of revision.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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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”
Unions and Labor-Management Relations