Research Papers on the National Labor Relations Board
Research papers on public administration issues include the political side of labor relations. A topic like the National Labor Relations Board can be explored in research papers custom written by Paper Masters.
Organized labor has played a major role in employee-employer interactions and relations for many decades. Unions were established as a tool for the working class to gain shorter workdays, higher wages, and safer working conditions. As the benefits of organized labor spread membership in unions soared. In recent years union membership declined due to a negative public image and steps taken by organizations to make union participation unnecessary.
Today, unions face several challenges that will impact their ability to grown and thrive over the next ten years, including:
- The loss of jobs to foreign competition
- Advances in technology
- Declining membership roles
Unions can survive these challenges by clearly articulating the advantages of membership to employees, by engaging in community involvement programs, and by targeting the employee populations previously overlooked or ignored.
History of National Labor Relations Board
The thirties were a tremendous decade for organized labor. In 1932, the Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injuction Act was passed. This crippled federal and local governments’ ability to limit strikes. Three years later, the National Labor Relations Act is passed. This law firmly provided labor with the ability to organize and bargain collectively as a group of individuals. Essentially, it provided employees with the rights necessary to form labor organizations. These rights included those “to form, join, or assist labor organizations; the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike”. Without these rights state and local governments could restrict the worker’s rights with regard to forming unions. Consequently, the establishment of these rights ensured that they could not be removed. This was also the year that the CIO was formed, specifically 1935. The Congress of Industrial Organizations consisted of assembly line workers who were not eligible for admission into the AFL, who required that only skilled workers be eligible. World War II proved to have a positive impact upon the rights of labor organizations.
Shortly after the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered the creation of the National War Labor Board (WLB). This was an extension of his New Deal proposal. Essentially, this board gave the federal government the power to intervene in industries and companies involved in producing products for the war effort. Thus, if the management of a particular company was not agreeable to the demands of labor and failed to sign any collective bargaining agreements, that company might be endanger of losing their governmental contracts. It also permitted a closed shop, which mandated that workers belonged to the union of the shop. Additionally, since wage increases were restricted, it permitted the use of benefits as the issue being bargained about. In response to this these measures for labor, President Roosevelt requested that labor respond to his demands. These included that during World War II, labor would not strike. In other words, during war time when no one could afford the closing down of a plant involved in the production of materials utilized in war, collective bargaining could not result in strikes that might limit the production capability of the plant. Additionally, President Roosevelt demanded that the management of plants and industries not engage in lock-outs, which consisted of closing the doors of the company and not allowing employees to enter in order to work. This resulted in lost wages for the employees, forcing them to meet the demands of management. Essentially, both management and labor complied with Roosevelt’s requests.
In the first few years of the war, there were few strikes. Most workers “consent[ed] to longer working hours, relaxing work rules, and striving to increase production”. But this compliance did not last long and once more there was a rise in strikes by labor and lockouts by management. Many of the labor organizations in fact became defiant of President Roosevelt’s requests. In response, the industry involving the mining of bituminous coal stopped work. In response to this act of defiance, Congress passed legislation referred to as the War Labor Disputes Act. Interestingly, President Roosevelt attempted to veto this piece of legislation. “The legislation provided for imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000 for a strike or lockout undertaken in an industry the president seized or operated pursuant to his war powers”.
The unions at the end of the first half of the twentieth century “had become dependent on the government and the Democratic party” (Nelson 84). Unfortunately, the public persona of the unions became one of greed, and there was a growing number of citizens who thought unions had too much power.