Any discussion of the legal aspects of company unionism under the National Labor Relations Act necessitates some consideration of the economic and political background of this type of unionism. Periods of labor unrest have been particularly prolific in mushrooming the growth of company unions. During World War I, the National War Labor Board found itself faced time after time with strife between employers and "outside" unions over the existence of company unions, which frequently were engendered by the employers' antagonism toward bona fide unions. Upon the demise of that board at the close of the war, and the concurrent end of the necessity on the part of the employer to adopt at least the semblance of collective bargaining, company unions tended to disappear. But upon the adoption of another governmental effort to protect labor's right to organize freely for collective bargaining, under section 7(a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act as enacted in 1933, another surge upward in the number of company unions took place. Too sudden a growth aroused the suspicion among many, including the national unions and some Congressional leaders, that a patriarchal force was using its procreative power to no good end. Senator Wagner, during the course of the Senate debates on the Wagner-Connery Bill, cited studies showing that more than two-thirds of the company unions then existing had sprung up following the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act. A further impetus in the movement came with the adoption of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 and the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in the spring of 1937 upholding its constitutionality.
COMPANY UNIONS UNDER THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol40/iss6/4