Domestic Affairs Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The ongoing battle between labor and capital was renewed in the 1940s, albeit in less strident terms than had occurred in the 1920s and 30s. One key piece of legislation was the Taft-Hartley Act (1947), which sought to roll back some of the pro-labor measures of the previous decade, such as the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) of 1937. Unions continued to grow in the 1940s, and strikes continued to occur—at least in the postwar period. There was increased pressure on the Truman administration to keep unions in check, particularly in light of allegations that many of them were corrupt and/or filled with communists. The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed jurisdictional strikes (i.e., strikes over conflicts in representation among the unions), secondary boycotts (boycotts of those who do business with the target of a boycott), and closed shops (shops in which persons are required to join a particular union), among other things. It also required that unions limit their political contributions and supply annual financial reports to their members and to government regulators. It required that union leaders swear that they were not communists. Although President Truman felt that Taft-Hartley went too far and acted to veto it, the legislation ultimately passed over Truman's veto.

The ongoing battle between labor and capital was renewed in the 1940s, albeit in less strident terms than had occurred in the 1920s and 30s. One key piece of legislation was the Taft-Hartley Act (1947), which sought to roll back some of the pro-labor measures of the previous decade, such as the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) of 1937. Unions continued to grow in the 1940s, and strikes continued to occur—at least in the postwar period. There was increased pressure on the Truman administration to keep unions in check, particularly in light of allegations that many of them were corrupt and/or filled with communists. The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed jurisdictional strikes (i.e., strikes over conflicts in representation among the unions), secondary boycotts (boycotts of those who do business with the target of a boycott), and closed shops (shops in which persons are required to join a particular union), among other things. It also required that unions limit their political contributions and supply annual financial reports to their members and to government regulators. It required that union leaders swear that they were not communists. Although President Truman felt that Taft-Hartley went too far and acted to veto it, the legislation ultimately passed over Truman's veto.

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