Subversive Historian – 06/23/09

Taft-Hartley Act

Back in the day on June 23rd, 1947, the U.S. Congress overrode the veto of President Harry Truman and passed the notorious Taft-Hartley Act. With the “Class of 1946” Republicans in control of Congress, the anti-labor legislation passed with a significant number of Democratic lawmakers in support of the override. Many of the provisions of the newly enacted Taft-Hartley Act were a sharp rebuke of the New Deal era Wagner Act which had, in addition to many other things, created the National Labor Relations Board. Organized labor dreaded the passage of Taft-Hartley as it diluted their power by prohibiting closed shops, forbidding secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes, and jurisdictional strikes. One provision even held that union leaders must declare that they were not affiliated with and did not support the Communist Party.

With Taft-Hartley still on the books, the Employee Free Choice Act is currently seeking passage in Congress, but would still fall short of undoing its predecessor’s legacy.


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