National Labor Relations Act, 1935

The National Labor Relations Act was a crucial piece of legislation that supported workers rather than corporations. In the early twentieth century, a decision like this was going against the trend of previous labor-related arguments. Typically the Supreme Court defended the position of corporations, but this time Congress backed unions and employees.

For Employers....

The act outlined a series of "unfair labor practices" being used by employers to control their employees and deemed them illegal. The act banned practices such as discriminating against employees for testifying or appearing in court, choosing to (or not to) join a labor union in their field of work, or supporting or advocating for an organization such as a labor union.

For Employees....

Employees are protected by the act to organize themselves into unions in order to negotiate working terms. Employees can not be discriminated against for choosing to or refusing to collectively bargain for wages and hours.

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Collective Bargaining-

"negotiation between an employer and a labor union usually on wages, hours, and working conditions" -Mirriam Webster Dictionary
Collective bargaining is when the union negotiates on the half of the the employee for working conditions, wages and hours. Rather than the employee negotiating their own wage, the union does it for them. Often times labor unions have wages worked out with companies before they even have someone to employ. In many cases this is desirable for employees because this way they don't get taken advantage of as easily. This still happens today, as well. People who have jobs as public school teachers, firefighters, police officers, state workers, and many others all have the option to join their respective union. If they are not getting paid enough money, they band together and protest until they can get the state to compromise on wages and budgets. There are unions from the 19th and 20th century that are still around today.

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Union Logos
Left- American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. Right- United Auto Workers

National Labor Relations Board

The NLRA also established a National Labor Relations Board, which still exists today, which is a federal agency whose job is to reside over disputes between employee and employer: these include facilitating settlements, filing charges, unionization issues and controversial labor practices as well as review the decisions of the U.S. court system as well as the Board itself. The Board is made up of five members who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

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