Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


The following essay is taken from "The Once and Future Labor Act: Myths and Realities," delivered last May in Washington D.C., as the third annual lecture to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Previous lectures in the series were delivered by Abner J. Mikva, former White House counsel and retired chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Judge Richard A. Posner, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

What, then, did Senator Wagner and the 1935 Congress have in mind? I believe language in the Findings and Policies of the original NLRA, which was retained in the Taft-Hartley amendments despite some vocal opposition, got it right. The "policy of the United States" was declared to be "encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining" and "protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing...." If that was the aim, however, something seems to have gone terribly wrong durng the past half century.