The 75th anniversary of the NLRA: A happy birthday for workers’ rights?

Amid all the fanfare surrounding the 4th of July last week, another significant milestone in our country’s history slipped by largely unnoticed—the 75th anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). A vital component of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the NLRA was designed to protect workers’ right to form unions and bargain collectively for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

As Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis noted in a recent Huffington Post column, passage of the NLRA was touted by many—including celebrated economist John Maynard Keynes—as an integral part of the country’s economic recovery program.

In an op-ed featured in The Hill, our Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown joined Secretary Solis in commemorating the Act’s anniversary, and stressed the importance of modernizing the NLRA to meet the needs of today’s workplaces.

Sadly, since 1935, corporations and their lobbyists in Washington have succeeded in subverting the Act’s intent and have significantly weakened the NLRA’s power what President Roosevelt called to protect “the independence of labor.” As a consequence, today’s NLRA is severely hamstrung in its ability to adapt to the facts of life in the modern workplace.

The result? The illegal firing of thousands of workers each year for exercising their right to bargain collectively. Companies that see the laughably light penalties for lawbreaking as little more than the cost of doing business. And workers across the country who band together to form a union, but never see a first contract.

Kim said it best:

After 75 years, modernizing the National Labor Relations Act might be the best birthday present that our nation’s labor law — and the working families who depend on it — could get.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 2:30 pm and is filed under Eye on the NLRB, Labor Law Reform. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The 75th anniversary of the NLRA: A happy birthday for workers’ rights?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AmericanRightsAtWork and Zoe Bridges-Curry. Zoe Bridges-Curry said: My first blog post for American Rights At Work! […]

  2. The NLRA is much needed in our society today. 75 years of good work.

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