97-755 A August 6, 1997
National Labor Relations Act: Regulation of Unfair Labor Practices
Michael Schmerling, Law Clerk Under the Supervision of Vince Treacy, Legislative Attorney American Law Division
SUMMARY Congress passed the Wagner Act, formally referred to as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) , 1 in 1935 to guarantee workers the rights to organize, join unions, and bargain collectively.2 The Act also sets forth unfair labor practices 3 by both employers and unions and designates the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to enforce the law's provisions. 4 Its passage reversed a trend of government siding with business in labor disputes. Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act6 in 1947 to balance the Wagner Act, which some felt had gone too far in protecting union rights. The Act amended the NLRA and renamed it the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA). The term NLRA is still used to refer to the original statutory provisions that are set forth in Title I of the LMRA. The only other major change to the NLRA came in 1959 when Congress passed the Landrum-Griffin Act. 6 This law regulates internal union matters and increases employee rights. The NLRA generally applies to all private sector employers engaged in interstate commerce; however, it is not applicable to railroads and airlines, which are covered by the Railway Labor Act. Also specifically excluded from its
National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151 et seq.
29 U.S.C. § 151.
29 U.S.C. § 158.
29 U.S .C. § 153.
Labor Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 141 et seq.
Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq.
CRS Reports are prepared for Members and committees of Congress
29 U.S.C. ยง 152.
This section T'lW'IV'1I'i= or assist labor or~,mlZSltlO'ns, ...,U\,,"'-"='.l.LJ.J:;, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective or other mutual aid or and shall also have to refrain from any or all such activities to the extent that such may be 8
in a labor
29 V.S.C ยง
as a condition ."29
National Labor Relations Board v. Town & (Jo'un1trv .... u::I..r>T1",,..
116 S. Ct. 450
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ยง 159. ยง 160.
29 U.S.C. ยง
29 U.S.C. ยง