March 3, 2022 by Ian Campbell

Forcing Workers to Arbitrate Disputes Is Increasing Labor Strife

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) leaves no doubt about its purpose. Enacted in 1935, it was set against a backdrop of decades of intense and often violent labor strife. Recall the massacre of striking coal miners at Ludlow, Colorado (1914); the bloody Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia (1921), which pit miners against the militia; and the West Coast Longshoremen’s Strike (1934) over union representation, which revealed organized workers’ enormous power over the nation’s economy.

The NLRA was designed to minimize strife by requiring employers to recognize employees’ efforts to engage in “mutual aid and protection”; adjudicating conflict so as to avoid direct action; and, to quote from the act itself, by “encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes … and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.”

Employers, naturally, prefer to deal with their workers one on one. But workers have shown throughout history they will not abide by this unfair practice. They organize, they work together, and, when their employers refuse to deal with them all at once, they strike. Workers engaged in, and prospered from, collective action long before passage of the NLRA. The law merely sought to …

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March 3, 2022

Forcing Workers to Arbitrate Disputes Is Increasing Labor Strife