Hlecture15 - LABOR RELATIONS Professor Bruce Fortado MAN...

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LABOR RELATIONS Professor Bruce Fortado MAN 4301/6305 University of North Florida In the early years of US history , there was no legislative framework to manage labor relations. In general, employers did not want their employees to form unions. Many of them vigorously resisted unionization . Prior to the New Deal, unions were not very successful in forming in rail, coal, steel and most other industries. Unions did form in many of the crafts . Craft workers were hard to replace. The work performed was also necessary, so wage increases could be passed on in the form of higher prices to customers. There was no election or negotiation process. The union would post the desired wage rate on the wall and strike if it was not met. In the 1880s, the craft unions formed the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Employer resistance took many forms . Employee leaders were often fired . The names of troublemakers were circulated to other employers on what became known as a “blacklist.” Threats were frequently made to scare people. Private detectives were often hired in large numbers (e.g. Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts agents). Pro-union employees were spied upon . Some were followed, beaten and killed . Strikebreakers were commonly used to continue operations. The Sherman Anti-trust Act, 1890 was employed against unions to break strikes and boycotts. Injunctions could be obtained and triple damages might be assessed for interfering with interstate commerce. Many employers asked new employees to sign a document upon joining the company stating they would not join a union. These were later called “ yellow dog contracts .” If the signers did join a union and struck, they might be evicted from company housing . Starting in 1914, some employers tried a new method. If their employees wanted a union, they would be given one, a “ company union. ” This was a union the company controlled. During WWI, the federal government encouraged companies to establish Personnel departments. Employers were very successful in resisting unionization during the 1920s. This has been termed the “Open Shop movement.” This was one of the top priorities for the new Personnel departments. After the communist revolution in Russia, some American employers adopted what was known as the “ American Plan .” This referred to a propaganda campaign to tar unions as communistic and un-American . In 1926, The Railway Labor Act was passed. This was aimed at creating a structure for peacefully handling labor relations issues. The Great Depression brought many capitalistic reforms. These are often called the “New Deal.” In 1932, the Norris- LaGuardia Act made yellow dog contracts unenforceable and it became far harder to enjoin a strike . In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt supported the National Industrial Recovery Act. It was thought “ruinous competition” had created problems in many viable industries. Employers were offered a deal under this act. They could coordinate with one another and fix prices in exchange for abiding by other progressive parts of the
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This note was uploaded on 07/09/2011 for the course MAN 4401 taught by Professor Fortado during the Spring '11 term at UNF.

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Hlecture15 - LABOR RELATIONS Professor Bruce Fortado MAN...

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