22 A.B.A. J. 245 (1936)
The National Labor Relations Act

handle is hein.journals/abaj22 and id is 251 raw text is: THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT
The Act Codifies Principles Which Were Sketched in Broadest Outline in the National
Industrial Recovery Act and Developed in the Administration under It-The Nature of
the Act-Precedents for It-Constitutional Questions Involved-Schechter Decision
Probably Confines Application of Act to Businesses Directly Interstate in Char-
acter-Application of Fifth Amendment-The Public Interest-Essential
Purpose of the Measure, etc.
Member of the Chicago, Illinois, Bar

LTHOUGH the depression was not the cause of
the National Labor Relations Act, which is de-
signed as a permanent policy, the depression oc-
casioned it. The act codifies principles which were
sketched in broadest outline in the National In-
dustrial Recovery Act, and developed in the ad-
ministration under it. Consideration of the present
act begins logically with the National Industrial
Recovery Act.
Section 7(a)' provided that every code of fair
competition under the act should contain the fol-
lowing conditions:
(1) That employees should have the right to organ-
ize and bargain collectively through representatives of
their own choosing and should be free from the inter-
ference of employers in the designation of such representa-
tives or in self-organization or other concerted activities
for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual
aid or protection.
(2) That no employee or person seeking employment
should be required as a condition of employment to join
any company union or refrain from joining a labor organ-
ization of his own choosing.
The ends in view in such a policy are to match the
unity of employers with organizations of employees,
who otherwise are divided; to further peace by
bringing the impulse of employees to unite under
the protection of the law; and through increasing
the efficiency of employees' organization, to raise
wages and thus increase purchasing power and ex-
pand the market for the products of industry. These
aims were generally declared in Section 1 of the
National Industrial Recovery Act,2 which stated
the following objectives among others:
to induce and maintain united action of labor and
management under adequate governmental sanctions and
supervision***, to increase the consumption of industrial
and agricultural products by increasing purchasing power,
to reduce and relieve unemployment, to improve stand-
ards of labor.
The labor provisions of the National Industrial
Recovery Act were interpreted by various adminis-
trative boards, principally   the  National Labor
Board and following it the National Labor Rela-
tions Board. The work of the former which was
composed of eminent representatives of capital' and
labor4 under the chairmanship of Senator Wagner
1. 48 Stat. at L. 198-199.
2. 48 Stat. at L. 195.
3. Among employers were Mr. Teagle of the Standard
Oil Company of New Jersey, Mr. Swope of the General Elec-
tric Company, and Mr. Pierre S. du Pont.
4. Among labor leaders were Mr. Green, President of
the American Federation of Labor and Mr. Lewis, President
of the United Mine Workers of America.

of New York, was largely in the nature of media-
tion.' But as time went on the National Labor
Board was given power to pass upon complaints of
violation of Section 7(a)', and rendered decisions
upon the legal effect of the act.'
The National Labor Relations Board,' which
was appointed in June 1934 and functioned until
June 1935, carried the process 'of interpretation
much farther, developing what has been termed a
common law' of labor relations.        Sitting as an
administrative tribunal, and hearing on appeal from
the regional boards complaints of all kinds concern-
ing alleged violations of Section 7(a) by employers,
the Board built up a body of precedents under the
statute that, whether approved or not, are logical,
consistent and well reasoned. The most important
principles laid down are these:
(1) That employers must not discriminate
against members of unions or interfere with their
lawful activities as members in any way.
(2) That employers must not seek to promote
company unions by financial support or otherwise
but must keep hands off the organization of their
(3) That employers must recognize the per-
sons selected by the majority of their employees
as their agents for purposes of collective bargaining
although they are representatives of labor unions
and not employees in the plant.
(4) That employers must recognize the repre-
5. Spencer, Collective Bargaining under Section 7(a) of
the National Industrial Recovery Act, 9.
6. Executive Order of February 23, 1934, No. 6612A.
7. These decisions are published in two pamphlets, one
for the period, August 1933-March 1934, and one for the period,
April 1934-July 1934.
8. The Board consisted first of Lloyd K. Garrison, Dean
of the Law School of the University of Wisconsin, chairman,
Harry A. Millis, Professor of Economics of the University of
Chicago and Edwin S. Smith, former commissioner of Labor
and Industries of Massachusetts, members. Mr. Garrison re-
signed in the fall of 1934 to resume his academic duties, and
was succeeded by Mr. Francis Biddle, able lawyer of Phila-
9. Labor Relations Boards, published by the Brookings
Institution, 446.
10. In the matter of the Kawneer Company, Decisions of
National Labor Relations Board, Vol. 1 60, In the matter of
Zenith Radio Corporation, id. 202, In the matter of Available
Truck Company, id. Vol. II 68.
11. In the matter of Ames Baldwin Wyoming Company,
Decisions of National Labor Relations Board, Vol. I 68, In
the matter of The Kohler Company, id. 72, In the matter of
Ely & Walker Dry Goods Company, id. 94, In the matter of
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, id. 173, In the matter of
Danbury and Bethel Fur Company, id. 195.
12. In the matter of Berkeley Woolen Mills, Decisions

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