Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act

Taft, Robert A..jpg
Portrait of Senator Robert A. Taft at his desk, 1949. Taft served as United States Senator from Ohio from 1939 until 1953 when he died in office. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1940,

1944, 1948 and 1952.

In 1947, the United States Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act. Representative Fred Allan Hartley and Ohio Senator Robert Alphonso Taft sponsored this legislation. The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act dramatically amended the Wagner Act of 1935, which had legalized unions and increased the rights of laborers.

The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act weakened laborers' rights. Under this legislation, before going on strike, unions had to notify the federal government. The government had the right to implement an eighty-day injunction against any strike that threatened national safety and health. The government could also intervene in labor disputes with the National Labor Relations Board, which could try to mediate the differences between workers and employers. In addition, before seeking government mediation, unions had to file financial statements with the federal government and union officials had to declare that they did not support communism. The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act also prohibited businesses from banning unions, but a union was only permitted in a business if a majority of workers voted in favor of it. The act also banned the closed shop, which had required all workers in a business to join a union. In addition to a few other restrictions, this legislation also prohibited unions from contributing to political campaigns.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman vetoed the Taft-Hartley Labor Management Act, but the U.S. Congress overturned the president's action. The act has undergone some revision, including for the first time in 1959, but many of its original stipulations remain in effect today.

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