1947 Taft Hartley Act


(6/23/47) The Taft-Hartley Act provided the President with the power to obtain an 80–day injunction against any strike. It also gave him the power of appointing a board of inquiry to oversee collective bargaining. It also banned closed shops. The bill was passed, over the veto of the President, in response to a wave of strikes.

During World War II American workers significantly limited the number of strikes that they took part in. However with the war over and American business short of workers in the year after the war five million workers took part in strikes, strikes that lasted four times as long as they had during World War II.

Big business lobbied Congress to do something to limit the strikes, and they convinced the Congress to pass the legislation that became known as the Taft Hartley Act. The act limited Jurisdictional strikes, which were strikes to get specific worked to do particular work. It banded secondary strikes which were strikes against companies that worked with a company that a union had a dispute with. It barred unions for giving campaign contributions to federal candidates that opposed the unions. It outlawed what was known as closed shops, a situation where a company could only hire a current union member. It did allow for Union shops which meant that once someone was hired he or she could be required to join the union. The law also required employers and unions give 80-day notice of a strike.

The law required all union leaders to swear that they were not members of the Communist party. The law stated that supervisors were exempt from protections if they were involved in Union activities.

Finally, the law provided for federal jurisdiction to enforce collective bargaining agreements.