This inside look at government regulations analyzes the failure of the Wagner-Taft-Hartley Act
The Subversion of U.S. Labor Relations Policy, 1947-1994
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James A. Gross
The Wagner Act of 1935 (later the Wagner-Taft-Hartley Act of 1947) was intended to democratize vast numbers of American workplaces: the federal government was to encourage worker organization and the substitution of collective bargaining for employers' unilateral determination of vital work-place matters. Yet this system of industrial democracy was never realized; the promise was "broken." In this rare inside look at the process of government regulation over the last forty-five years, James A. Gross analyzes why the promise of the policy was never fulfilled.
Gross looks at how the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) policy-making has been influenced by the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, public opinion, resistance by organized employers, the political and economic strategies of organized labor, and the ideological dispositions of NLRB appointees. This book provides the historical perspective needed for a reevaluation of national labor policy. It delineates where we are now, how we got here, and what fundamental questions must be addressed if policy-makers are to make changes consistent with the underlying principles of democracy.
"Resting on exhaustive research in [NLRB] files and other relevant archives and on the results of a massive oral history project that James Gross has directed, [Broken Promise] is a unique and authoritative study... [it] stands as a monumental work of scholarship."
"...this study is thoroughly researched, carefully constructed, and clearly written. ...he has posed a fundamental challenge to the standard interpretation that organized labor made a 'Faustian bargain' with corporate America in the postwar era."
"...makes another important contribution to labor history and industrial relations by carefully tracing the radical shifts in United States labor policy since World War II."
In the series
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.