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Taft-Hartley and the secret ballot

A bit of relevant background for the card check debate from Hans von Spakovsky:

The provisions for secret ballots in union representation elections are outlined in Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act, codified at 29 U.S.C. 159 and first passed in 1935. The original language stated that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could provide for "a secret ballot of employees, or utilize any other suitable method to ascertin [sic] such representatives."

This provision was amended by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 to delete the "other suitable method" language after Congress found that "the American workingman...has been cajoled, coerced, intimidated, and on many occasions beaten up, in the name of the splendid aims set forth in section 1 of the National Labor Relations Act."

Good thing that would never happen now!

P.S. Some more on the history of Taft-Hartley, from historian John Steele Gordon.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.