Unit II Labor Relations


UnitII: Labor Relations


  1. What are the unfair labor practices, and how did the Wagner Act of 1935 lead to mandatory subjects of bargaining today?

Unfairlabor practices encompasses actions considered statutory wrong,though not crimes. The term defines what employers are not expectedto do because they would undermine the collective bargaining ofemployees (Wagner, 2013). It is an unfair labor practice foremployers to interfere with, coerce, refrain employee in the exerciseof their rights to collective bargaining, to interfere with thecreation and running of any labor organization or any support orcontribution to it, to discriminate employees in the hiring andplacement processes in a bid to discourage or encourage membership ina labor organization, to discriminate or discharge an employee on thegrounds that they have given testimony or filed charges in a court oflaw and to refuse to bargain collectively with the duly chosenrepresentative body (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).

TheWagner Act of 1935 led created a framework for government to enforceemployee rights for collective bargaining. It did so in three ways,through banning all types of management activities that are termed asunfair labor practices, by formulating provisions for majority rulefor the selection of employee bargaining representatives, andcreating an independent body and national labor relations board thatoffers a mechanism for enforcing such provisions (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).

2.What are the collective bargaining rights that were given toemployers by the Taft-Hartley Act`s quest for industrial relationsequity? Why were these important to employers?

TheTaft-Hartley Act introduced major changes that were mean to revisethe Wagner Act of 1935. Passes in 1947, the Act is still thefoundation of U.S labor law today. It reflected the new attitudetowards labor of post war America (Wagner, 2013). As a result ofstrikes during the Second World War and national emergency, and theadvantages accorded to the unions by the Wagner Act in 1935, aRepublican controlled Congress felt it was paramount to create abalance of power between the management and unions (Wagner, 2013).Essentially an overriding amendment to the Wagner Act, the principlesof the Taft-Hartley Act were meant to safeguard the economic andsocial welfare of workers in the US from unfair tendencies andcorruption by unions (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).In this light, under the Act employers had the right to express theiropinions and perspectives relating to unions and the result ofunionization. Employers had the right to state anything they felt waspressing them provided they did not coerce, threaten, interfere,promise or direct unions. For example, employers could state thatunionization could lead to closure of a factory but could notexplicitly name the plant that would be closed.

Employershad a right to lock out their employees when an impasse occurs incollective bargaining after the union had gained certificationrights. This was a move mean to shock employee to accept managementlast offer (Wagner, 2013).3. How did the change of political parties (Democrat/Republican)influence the NLRB`s decisions regarding unions in the 1980s and1990s?

Changein political parties has immense influence on the performance ofunion in the United States. The republicans have always maintained aconservative approach to issues relating to domestic and foreignaffairs, while the democratic have appeared more liberal. In the1990s Republicans were at the helm and this meant that members whofilled the NLRB shared republican sentiments (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).

Eventhough the laws had not changed, the manner in which they wereinterpreted depended on who was in power. The Jimmy Carter era boardwas relatively liberal and friendly towards the union but the Reaganand George Bush era board were hostile towards the unions. TheClinton era board was determined to regain the gains that had beenlost during the era of two extremely conservative Republicans (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).One of the landmark changes was the reduction of the time in whichNLRB administrative judges could solve a labor query. Employers couldno longer discriminate against paid union organizers who sought jobopportunities. In addition graduate student teaching assistants wereallowed to unionize and were treated as full employee under theNational Labor Relations Act. Such landmark achievements were notpossible in a Republican controlled board, which upheld conservativeapproaches.4.What are the five reasons for the poor performance of labor unions inthe 1920s? Discuss these reasons?

Inthe late 1920s, labor movement in the US was a very critical point.Even though it played a significant role in helping achieve victoryin the First World War, it was now denigrated as anti-American,demanding and putting it interest above national goals and interest(American in Class, 2012). Many found employers indisposed tonegotiate for better wages. The war had a huge economic toll onAmerican and commodity prices kept on rising. In this light numerousstrikes were called in 1919 and 1920 (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010). This sparked massive public outcry and condemnation. There was alsoa growing apprehension that the strikes were inspired by communistsforeigners and anarchists (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).

Suchsentiments led to decline in union membership. In addition, manyemployers in the country reverted to measures meant to crippleunionization and union activities. Employers generated one of themost powerful open shop propaganda program that saw union membershiphit rock bottom. Unions were portrayed to the public as aliens meantto undermine industrial efficiency, national spirit and Americaninterest (American in Class, 2012).

Tomake the equation even more complex, this era was marked by absenceof strong and imaginative leadership in the labor movement. After thedeath of the charismatic first AFC president, Compers in 1924, hissuccessor lacked direction and aggressiveness to keep the movementroaring (Sloane&amp Witney, 2010).


Americanin Class. (2012). BecomingModern: America in the 1920s.Retrieved from:http://americainclass.org/sources/becomingmodern/prosperity/text5/text5.htm

Sloane,A. A., &amp Witney, F. (2010). Laborrelations(13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wagner,S. (2013). HowDid the Taft-Hartley Act Come About?Retrieved from: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1036