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Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:42 PM

Time to repeal Taft-Hartley [View all]


It is one of those ironies of history that on December 10, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that December 10th of each year is celebrated as "International Human Rights Day." Article 23 of that document says, among other things that "everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests."


During the Great Depression the labor movement, often led by communists and other militants, achieved great breakthroughs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act (often called labor's Magna Carta), which ensured unions the right to organize and bargain collectively. Workers in every state undertook heroic struggles to gain a voice in determining the conditions of their employment. Millions of workers joined unions and won many hard-fought strikes.

The capitalists and their political minions did not sit idly by; they did not want their power and control over the workers diminished. After World War II, at a time when the percentage of workers with union cards reached an all-time high and militancy was on the rise, the right-wing in Congress struck back. Both houses passed the Taft-Hartley Act, and though President Harry S. Truman vetoed the bill, Congress over-rode the veto. The law's provisions struck right at the heart of labor unions.


Therefore, we can conclude that the Taft-Hartley Act is an outdated relic of the Cold War. Its provisions restrict the rights of unions and weaken them in their relations with the employers. Congress should repeal the law and replace it with legislation that guarantees organized workers the right to reinstate the closed or union shop through collective bargaining in any state. It would go a long way toward strengthening the labor movement. Such a goal should be a part of any fightback by workers against the ultra-right and its drive for unfettered power.

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Reply Time to repeal Taft-Hartley [View all]
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 OP
immoderate Dec 2012 #1
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #2
bvar22 Dec 2012 #8
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #10
white_wolf Dec 2012 #15
Recursion Dec 2012 #3
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #9
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #12
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #13
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #4
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #6
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #5
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #7
immoderate Dec 2012 #11
tama Jan 2013 #16
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #17
tama Jan 2013 #18
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #14