Legal Status of Unions

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jdfield
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Legal Status of Unions

Legal Status of Unions
The history of the American labor movement coincides with the development of labor unions in the United States, from the initial local craft unions like the Federal Society of Journeyman Cordwainers (shoemakers), to the formation of national unions such as the National Labor Union (NLU) and the Knights of Labor, creation of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and the Congress of International Organizations (CIO), the merger of the AFL-CIO, and its breakup through the defection of the national unions that formed the Change to Win (CTW) coalition (Fossum, 2012, pp. 27-34, 53-54). Paralleling the union development was a series of national labor legislation: Railway Labor Act (1926), Norris-LaGuardia Act (1932) legitimizing collective bargaining, National Industrial Recovery Act (1933), ruled unconstitutional in 1935, National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act, 1935) establishing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Taft-Hartley Act (1947), and Landrum-Griffin Act (1959) (Fossum, 2012, pp. 63-75). This paper will examine this evolution of the legal status of American unions and what union activities were restricted by laws and courts; the major contributing causes to the failure of uplift unionism; advantages and disadvantages of a business union vs. labor political party approach; leading personalities contributing to the definition of labor relations in the United States; and the most effective union leaders during the 1930s and 1940s and would they be effective now.
Legal Status of American Unions: Activities Restricted by Laws and Courts
Initially American courts dealt with union organizing and collective bargaining efforts as a conspiracy, in the late 18th century applying this conspiracy doctrine in the Philadelphia cordwainers case (Fossum, 2012, p. 30, citing 3 Commons & Gilmore 228-233). This…...

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