The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, a/k/a The Labor Management Relations Act-29 U.S.C. s 86

THE TAFT-HARTLEY ACT OF 1947, THE LANDRUM-GRIFFITH ACT OF 1959, AND OTHER LAWS GOVERNING LABOR-MANAGEMENT DISPUTES

 

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, was created to make a balanced labor and management relationship and stop workers from striking during an emergency. It gives employees the right to refrain from participating in union activities and adds a series of prohibited unfair labor practices by unions. In addition, it creates the Federal Mediation Service to assist management and unions in settling disputes. The Taft-Hartley Act gives the president the power to require striking workers to return to work for up to 80 days while labor negotiation continue if the labor dispute “imperils the national health or safety.”

“It is the purpose and policy of this Act…to prescribe the legitimate rights of both employees and employers in their relations affecting commerce, to provide orderly and peaceful procedures for preventing the interference by either with the legitimate rights of the other, to protect the rights of individual employees in their relations with labor organizations…,to define and proscribe practices on the part of labor and management which … are inimical to the general welfare, and to protect the rights of the public in connection with disputes affecting commerce.”

Taft-Hartley also forbids an employer from giving or loaning money to a union, union official, union welfare fund or an employee involved in a labor dispute and forbids both employers and unions from contributing to political candidates. The Taft-Hartley Act was sponsored by Senators Robert Taft of Ohio and Fred Hartley of New Jersey. It gave  the government the ability to break strikes by declaring 80-day cooling off periods, outlawed organizational picketing, gave employers the right to hire temporary fill in workers  as permanent replacements for striking workers, banned election campaign contributions from union dues and union treasuries.

Taft-Hartley also banned "secondary boycotts" making it illegal for workers to refuse to cross a picket line when they themselves were not directly party to a labor dispute and illegal to refuse to handle "hot goods" coming from or going to a struck plant, forbade sympathy and solidarity strikes by one union with another where a contract was in effect, encouraged state anti-union "right-to-work" laws which outlaw union shops where union membership is a condition of employment, prohibited unions from expelling company spies as long as they paid their union dues, and enabled employers to deplete union treasuries with endless litigation.

The Landrum-Griffith Act of 1959 tightened up the prohibitions on secondary boycotts and organizational picketing and enabled temporarily hired replacement workers to vote in union certification or decertification elections. This of course encouraged employers to break strikes by unions by hiring replacement during strikes and then having the replacement call union certification or decertification elections. The Landrum-Griffin Act also addressed labor racketeering, by providing a bill of rights for individual union members, requires certain financial disclosures by unions, mandates election procedures for union officers and provides for both civil and criminal remedies for financial abuses by union officers.

Violations of The Labor Management Relations Act—29 U.S.C. § 86
The maximum criminal penalty for prohibited payments to, or receipt by, labor union officials, labor organizations, and employee representatives acting in the interest of employers whose labor-management relations are governed by the Taft-Hartley Act (29 U.S.C. § 141, et seq.) is imprisonment for five (5) years and a fine for each violation hoes value exceeds $1,000, and (occurrs after October 12, 1984). If the prohibited transactions is below $1,000 in value, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for one (1) year and a fine. See 29 U.S.C. § 186(d), as amended (1984). Pre October 12, 1984 violations are subject only to the misdemeanor penalty. Additionally, the violations may be prosecuted as racketeering acts under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute (18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.).

Additionally, any value or payments which are improperly made directly or indirectly to labor organizations include compensating workers who did not perform the service, settlement payments obtained by duress or fraud, and delivery of goods not in the regular course of business, are also subject to criminal prosecution without proof of any corrupt purpose underlying the transaction.  Similarly, improperly withholding and payment by employers of employees’ membership dues or equivalent fees to a labor organization, employer contributions to employee benefit plan trusts on behalf of employees, or an employer’s funding of labor-management cooperation committees, criminal prosecution requires proof of a "willful" violation and the defendant’s specific intention to benefit himself persons he knows are not permitted to receive a payment, loan, money, or other thing of value under other exemptions . Anyone who participates or conspires to participate in the transaction occurring after October 12, 1984, and having more than $1,000 of value is punishable as a felony; value of $1,000 or less is punishable as a misdemeanor.

It is also a violation to make a payment to Representatives of Employees or Labor Unions or Labor Union Officials with Potential Representative Relationships with Employees; 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186(a)(1) or (a)(2), (b)(1), and (d)(1) or (d)(2).  

Other Recent Labor-Management Relations Laws

The Wagner Act (NLRA), under the National Labor Relations Act, allowed employee unionization & collective bargaining rights. Specifically, the law gave federal protection for an employee decision to organize and collectively bargain through representatives of their choice. It achieved this by prohibiting all management from interfering with employees who wish to join a union and from discriminating against those who do join a union. However, in an effort to protect the employer, the law requires employers & union members to bargain collectively.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Established by National Labor Relations Act, states that it is Unfair labor practices consist of a:  private party files a charge or claim of unfair labor practice, regional office investigates and decides whether sufficient facts warrant it to  proceed further,  if regional director issues a complaint, attorney from that region will prosecute the case,  if the case is not settled with a hearing with staff attorney from NLRA, the case proceeds to litigation, after litigation, a Court recommends decision and possibly an Court Order

The Hobbs Act Hobbs Act. Enacted in 1946 to combat the increase in racketeering in labor disputes, the Hobbs Act prohibits actual or attempted robbery, extortion or conspiracy to commit same affecting interstate or foreign commerce "in any way or degree." It is frequently used in cases of public corruption, commercial disputes, and corruption directed at members of labor unions.  The leading case on point, Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 265, 112 S.Ct. 1181, 1188 (1992), provides that the obtaining of property by either public officials or by private actors with the victim’s "consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear," including fear of economic harm.  A Hobbs Act violation can be a single event or a "pattern of racketeering activity" for purposes of prosecution under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute (18 U.S.C. §  1961, et seq.).

The Health Care Amendments of 1974 (Public Law 93-360, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 158(d) (amending the National Labor Relations Act) include special responsibilities to prevent or minimize work stoppages in the health care industry. The FMCS must be notified 60 days before the contract termination date. A 30-day notice is required in initial bargaining situations. If, in the opinion of the Director, a strike is threatened which would interrupt the delivery of health care in a locality, the Director may appoint a board of inquiry (29 U.S.C. section 183). The board has 15 days within which to operate and file its report and recommendations; parties must maintain the status quo for 15 days thereafter while further negotiations and mediation take place. The parties are required to cooperate in any mediation efforts by FMCS.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-454, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7119) directs the Service to provide mediation assistance in disputes arising from negotiations between Federal agencies and the exclusive representatives of their employees.

The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-375, 39 U.S.C. Sec. 1207) requires the Service to establish fact-finding panels and arbitration boards if disputes between the Postal Service and the exclusive representatives of its employees are not resolved prior to certain statutory deadlines.

The Atomic Energy Labor-Management Relations Panel was established in order to ensure the uninterrupted functioning of the Atomic Energy Program without strikes or lockouts due to labor-management disputes. This Panel was moved to the Atomic Energy Commission in March 1956 but was returned to FMCS and renamed the Energy Labor-Management Relations Panel (ELMRP).

Executive Order 11374, dated October 11, 1967, transferred the responsibilities of the Missile Sites Labor Commission (created by Executive Order 10946) to FMCS.

The Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-524, 29 U.S.C. 175a) amended sections 175 and 302 of the Labor -Management Relations Act and authorizes and directs the Service to encourage and support joint labor-management activities conducted by plant, area, and industry-wide committees designed to improve labor-management relationships, employment security, and organizational effectiveness. The Act authorizes the Service to provide grant funds to assist in the establishment and operation of these labor-management committees.

The Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-320) 5 U.S.C., 571,et seq. authorizes and encourages agencies to use various means of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the federal administrative process in order to avoid the time and expense of litigation, including the use of hearing officers or Ombudsmen.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 45 CFR 90.43, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), implementing its authority under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq., authorizes the DHHS to provide mediation assistance for the resolution of age discrimination charges.

Executive Order 12871, dated October 1, 1993, established the National Partnership Council in the federal sector to foster good government relations through the formation of labor-management partnerships. The order is overseen by the National Performance Review Board.

The Air Traffic Management Performance Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-264, 49 U.S.C. Section 40122, directs the FMCS to mediate disputes between the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and its employee representatives if these bargaining parties fail to reach a negotiated agreement.


 

 
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