The Wagner Act

In 1935, the Wagner Act (sometimes called the National Labor Relations Act) was passed, changing the

way employers can react to several aspects of unions. The Wagner Act had a few main aspects:

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1. Employers must allow freedom of association and organization and cannot interfere with, restrain

or coerce employees who form a union.

2. Employers may not discriminate against employees who form or are part of a union or those who

file charges.

3. An employer must bargain collectively with representation of a union.


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversees this act, handling any complaints that may

arise from the act. For example, in April 2011, the NLRB worked with employees at Ozburn-Hessey

Logistics in Tennessee after they had been fired because of their involvement in forming a union. The

company was also accused of interrogating employees about their union activities and threatened

employees with loss of benefits should they form a union. The NLRB utilized their attorney to fight on

behalf of the employees, and a federal judge ordered the company to rehire the fired employees and also

to desist in other antiunion activities. [6]


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