—Wide World Pholo
Lee Pressman as he arrived for questioning
during closed hearing in 1948. A former government lawyer, he was secretary of the
Wallace third party platform committee.
ity arrange-in,-nts as the closed shop had
been in force for twenty to thirty years
when they were outlawed by the Taft-
Hartley Act. And in many cases, union-
shop and closed-shop agreements have
been championed by employers, as well
as by unions.
Many employers, as well as students
of industrial relations, agree lhal closed-
shop or union-shop agreements contribute tee responsible unionism and result
in benefits to management.
Responsible unionism can develop
onlv to the extent that the union feels
see-,ire-, lhal ils peesilieni is not being
altaeked or undermined.
Under closed-shop it union-shop conditions lln- union is not compelled to
spend its major efforts mi continuous
organizing drives within Ihe plant. The
union under such conditions can concentrate ils attention on collective bargaining and cooperate wilh management for tin- mutual benefit of the
workers and lhe company.
Instead eef a national policy thai would
permit unions and employers to negotiate union-security provisions freely,
the Taft-Hartley law permits arrangements for union security anil then authorizes lhe stales lo outlaw these- pin
CALLS FOR NATIONAL POLICY
If "right-to-work" laws were adopted
by all the stales, there could be forty-
nine different laws affecting union security: the federal law and forty-eight state
laws. Yet union security is an issue thai
clearly e-alls for a national policy, since
labor-management relations are coil-
line leel will, national firms that buy and
sell in the national market and operate
establishments in several states.
Consider lhe disruption of industrial
relations created by "right-to-work" laws
as they affect union-management relationships in multiplanl firms. The union
and lln- company negotiate a master
agreemenl covering all the firm's establishments. Both parties agree to a union-
security provision, lint if one of the
plants is in a "right-to-work' state, the
union-security provision is inoperative
in that state.
A multiplanl company mav operate
under a union-shop pr.ev isieen in il- New
York. Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois
plants. But in its Texas, Alabama, and
Virginia plants, all forms of union security an- outlawed by state legislation.
A national economy requires national
economic [>,>1 i< i,—. To atomize collective
bargaining through the Taft-Hartley \< i
and state "right-to-work" laws is tee resin,in trade nnieens a,,,] business firms
from functioning properly within a national e-eieneimv elependenl on interstate
commerce anel multiplanl companies.
The selection of union scairitv lee,
spce-ial restrictions under a eombimilion
'•I federal and state lave a is an obv ions
attempt to undermine collective bargain
ing. This policy on union securiH
clearly stems from an antilabor bias-
regardless of how it is cloaked.
The claims of high principle 9
"right-to-work" laws have no basis i"
fact. These laws have but one sing'1
minded aim: the undermining of iini°"
strength by disrupting effective couw
live- bargaining eiml atomizing industry
That was one side. Now comes the
opposite side — arguments of some
who DO NOT agree with Secretary of Labor Mitchell lhal slate
right-to-work laws do more harm
Tin: best way to defend lhe statj
right-to-work laws is lo explain WW
they were needed. The- best explanation
is a brief review of historical fads. .
In 1935, lhe Wagner Ad wa
to the American public as lhe law win'
would give- labor equality of bargain'";
power wilh industry. Bul thai was "''
lln- real purpose of Lee Pressman, "'
Communisl who drafted the law
Wagner Act was a Communisl mcasllr
Ils purpose was lo make labor uni""
powerful enough lo dictate terms lo jf
government of the United Slates. I''
Communists hoped to capture l'"'
unions and use them al the appropfl
time In spearhead the revolution "'
establish the dictatorship of the Y'"
The country was neel as ripe' I
revolution as the Communists imagi".1''
however, and the real growth of un>',
power did not conic until World War
when Ihe government, controlling
lie-ally all industry, forced most "<■'.'
industrial establishments to negoti'
closed-shop contracts with the '
unions. Literal!) hundreds of thoiisa11'
ol fanners, day laborers, small busing',
men from the South. Southwest and •"',
west, who could m,I gel into the a.^'
gave- up their occupations and moved j
Detroit or the Easl Coasl or lhe "l,
Ceeast to help the war effort by "".',
ing in defense plants. The firsl th*
the) had to ele, there, however, wa*,
join one of the big unions. "'''T,,
they liked it or not. Money was l»*
out ,if their paychecks for initiation > /
and monthly dues. If they protested "a
high-handed tyranny, the unions tffl
remove them from their jobs and I''?/,,
ball tlii-in in the entire industry. " -,
could gel no help from their '
ment, because government was "" ,
union's side. Local and s|„|e ?°v.n<
ments fell thai they could do n"1'1' '
eir were loo timid lo liv . (|
\- World War II came to a close. I
labor leaders saw thai the end '
war mighl also be lhe end of th1''1' ,
prerogatives. The terrible onlbn'" |V
nalieinw iele- strikes and v iolence tl"1
curred righl after World War H I
monopolistic labor's bid for final I"'
FACTS FORUM NEWS, March,