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Federal labor legislation aims to reduce industrial strife, promote productive efficiency, and equalize bargaining power between employers and employees. To attain these interrelated objectives, the Taft-Hartley Act, like the Wagner Act, gives employees the right to engage in various forms of concerted activity free from management interference. Thus employees are free to join unions, to strike, to picket, and to bargain collectively.
Not all concerted activities are protected, however. The Taft-Hartley Act expressly prohibits certain secondary boycotts, jurisdictional strikes, and strikes for recognition in defiance of a certified union. Even before the passage of that Act, courts had held that strikes in breach of a collective bargaining agreement and strikes to force an employer to violate a federal law were outside the protective ambit of the Wagner Act. Strikes have also been denied protection if they contravene a federal statute, such as that forbidding mutiny, or if they violate state laws prohibiting the seizure of property or acts of violence.
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