Taft-Hartley Act

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Definition: Taft-Hartley Act

Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 is referred to as the Taft- Hartley Act after the name of the senator Robert A Taft and representative Fred A Hartley Jr. who sponsored this law for the first time. It was authored by Taft Stettinius & Hollister (A Cincinnati based law firm). It became a law by the veto power of U.S President Harry Trueman in the year 1947,another name by which it was popularly known is “slave labor bill”. It amended the NLRA, the Wagner act of 1935.


How it came into being?

After the worldwar II, there was an upsurge in the union movements & cold war hostilities, and approval of this bill was the business’s response to this upsurge. It imposed a limit on the ability of the laborers to strike. Big business lobbies like NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) were supportive of this law.


What it is?

This act is a which keeps a tab on the activities of the unions in the following manner:


1. Restricts the use of unfair labor practices by the union.

2. Lists out the rights which the employees can enjoy.

3. Also, lists out employer’s rights.

4. Empowers the supreme head of the country (i.e the president of U.S.A) to take action and suspend all sorts of strikes (by the labors which may have severe consequences for the nation).


Features of the act

1. It placed restrictions on the union which were already being imposed upon on the employers. Eg. it made secondary, sympathy strikes and secondary boycotts illegal, which had an impact on the employers( in addition to those with whom contract has been made).

2. It amended the Warner’s act and gave the right to free speech to the employers which were limited in the previous act. Under this right the employers can give speeches against the unionization of employees till the time it doesn’t have anything which is derogatory to the unions. Also, the manager is not to be held completely liable for the act of line managers and supervisors. The supervisors are held liable for their acts not the managers.

3. Enactment of right to work laws in all the states of U.S, which made the formation of unions as a condition for employment.

4. The act also made sure that the employers and the employees to bargain with each other in good faith and reach an agreement on all sorts of issues related to employment contract.

5. Creation of FMCS (Federation Mediation and Conciliation Service) for assisting in settling labor disputes & increased the members of NLRB from 3 to 5.


Relevance of this Act

Powerful tool for labor relations management. It provides valuable protection to employees, employers and unions. This act has reduced the frequency and severity of occurrence of strikes.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Taft-Hartley Act along with its overview.


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