The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (also known as the Wagner Act) is a foundational statute of United States labor law which guarantees the right of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining, and take collective action such as strikes. Central to the act was a ban on company unions.The act was written by Senator Robert F. Wagner, passed by the 74th United States Congress, and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The National Labor Relations Act seeks to correct the "inequality of bargaining power" between employers and employees by promoting collective bargaining between trade unions and employers. The law established the National Labor Relations Board to prosecute violations of labor law and to oversee the process by which employees decide whether to be represented by a labor organization. It also established various rules concerning collective bargaining and defined a series of banned unfair labor practices, including interference with the formation or organization of labor unions by employers. The act does not apply to certain workers, including supervisors, agricultural employees, domestic workers, government employees, and independent contractors.
What was the purpose of the Wagner Act in 1935?
The Wagner Act of 1935, also known as the National Labor Relations Act, guarantees the right of workers to organize and outlines the legal framework for labor union and management relations. In addition to protecting workers, the Act provided a framework for collective bargaining.
What did the Wagner Act do to help workers?
It was instrumental in preventing employers from interfering with workers' unions and protests in the private sector. The act established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to protect the rights of workers to organize, bargain collectively, and strike.
Who did the Wagner Act benefit?
The act contributed to a dramatic surge in union membership and made labor a force to be reckoned with both politically and economically. Women benefited from this shift to unionization as well. By the end of the 1930s, 800,000 women belonged to unions, a threefold increase from 1929.
Interfering with employee rights (Section 7 & 8(a)(1))
Employees have the right to unionize, to join together to advance their interests as employees, and to refrain from such activity. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights. For example, employers may not respond to a union organizing drive by threatening, interrogating, or spying on pro-union employees, or by promising benefits if they forget about the union.
Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) guarantees employees "the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection,".