Documents: National Labor Relations Act

"...it should serve as an important step toward the achievement of just and peaceful labor relations in industry."

Our Documents: The National Labor Relations Act
(The Wagner Act)
July 5, 1935

During the 1930s tensions between workers and their employers were very high. Workers tried to form unions to push for better working conditions, but business owners responded to their actions harshly, blacklisting organizers and using force to prevent strikes. President Roosevelt first addressed this problem with the National Industrial Recovery Act (NLRA), but when the Supreme Court ruled that act unconstitutional, President Roosevelt made an even bolder stand with labor. The National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act after New York Senator Robert Wagner, gave workers the right to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers. The act also created the National Labor Relations Board to oversee union certification, arrange meetings with unions and employers, and investigate violations of the law. Like other New Deal programs, the NLRA's constitutionality was questioned, but the Supreme Court upheld the act in the Jones & Laughlin Steel case.

bullet Franklin Roosevelt's Statement on signing the National Labor Relations Act , July 5, 1935

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