The National Labor Relations Act at 75: In Need of a Heart Transplant
60 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2010
Date Written: February 27, 2010
When the NLRA was enacted in 1935, 13.2% of workers were union members. Industrial unions used the power provided in the NLRA to organize manufacturing workers and achieve a union membership of 35% by the mid-1950s. Although the NLRA was significantly amended in 1947 and 1959, it has not been meaningfully changed since then. As a result, a statute designed for mass production industries is no longer relevant to the service and white-collar positions occupied by most individuals today. The NLRA must be modified to include independent contractors who work like regular employees and perma-temps hired from employment agencies on a long-term basis. Congress could also adopt the portions of the Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier for unions to organize new age workers. First contract arbitration could be employed to help newly certified labor organizations achieve initial bargaining agreements, and mandatory worker participation programs could be adopted to provide unrepresented workers with a collective voice.
Keywords: National labor relations act, making labor law relevant to new age workers, worker participation programs, workers associations
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