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Labor and Labor Practices - The Taft-hartley Act

unions strike employees boycotts

Public opinion turned against organized labor in the postwar period, and over the veto of President Harry S. Truman Congress passed the Labor- Management Relations Act of 1947, called the Taft-Hartley Act after its sponsors, Sen. Robert J. Taft, and Rep. Fred A. Hartley. The act amended the NLRA and was a response to what many felt were the coercive actions of too-powerful unions. It defined and prohibited unfair labor practices by unions, removed foremen from coverage under the NLRA, and banned the closed shop. Unions were barred from refusing to bargain collectively as well. A further restraint on large unions was the act's provision authorizing the president to declare a potentially large, disruptive strike (such as by railroad or steel workers) a national emergency strike and postpone it for 80 days.

The Taft-Hartley Act also authorized lawsuits against unions for contract violations; established a 60-day no-strike, no-lockout period in situations in which either party wished to cancel an existing labor agreement; barred coercion of non-union employees by unions; prohibited secondary boycotts (boycotts by striking employees against third parties that the firm being struck does business with); and required unions to file reports on financial and other matters in order to receive NLRB protection. In 1959 the act was amended by the Landrum-Griffin Act (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act), which dealt with the relations between unions and their members.

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