"...it should serve as an important step toward
the achievement of just and peaceful labor relations in industry."
Franklin Roosevelt's Statement on the
National Labor Relations Act
(The Wagner Act)
July 5, 1935
defines, as a part of our substantive law, the right of self-organization
of employees in industry for the purpose of collective bargaining, and
provides methods by which the Government can safeguard that legal right. It
establishes a National Labor Relations Board to hear and determine cases in
which it is charged that this legal right is abridged or denied, and to
hold fair elections to ascertain who are the chosen representatives of
relationship between labor and management is the high purpose of this Act.
By assuring the employees the right of collective bargaining it fosters the
development of the employment contract on a sound and equitable basis. By
providing an orderly procedure for determining who is entitled to represent
the employees, it aims to remove one of the chief causes of wasteful
economic strife. By preventing practices which tend to destroy the
independence of labor, it seeks, for every worker within its scope, that
freedom of choice and action which is justly his.
National Labor Relations Board will be an independent quasi-judicial body.
It should be clearly understood that it will not act as mediator or
conciliator in labor disputes. The function of mediation remains, under
this Act, the duty of the Secretary of Labor and of the Conciliation
Service of the Department of Labor. It is important that the judicial
function and the mediation function should not be confused. Compromise, the
essence of mediation, has no place in the interpretation and enforcement of
Act, defining rights, the enforcement of which is recognized by the
Congress to be necessary as an act of both common justice and economic
advance, must not be misinterpreted. It may eventually eliminate one major
cause of labor disputes, but it will not stop all labor disputes. It does
not cover all industry and labor, but is applicable only when violation of
the legal right of independent self-organization would burden or obstruct
interstate commerce. Accepted by management, labor and the public with a
sense of sober responsibility and of willing cooperation, however, it
should serve as an important step toward the achievement of just and
peaceful labor relations in industry.
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