Hutchison Quoted in Forbes Article

Commenting in a Forbes magazine article citing the battle over Michigan's right-to-work law as the latest development in a 77-year struggle, Professor Harry Hutchison says labor violence and work stoppages actually increased after passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935. 

In the 1930s the labor environment was much more violent than today, and Congress invoked its power to regulate interstate commerce to pass laws regulating the way wages were negotiated.

"The question is, was Congress in 1935 actually telling the truth?" says Hutchison. He points out that the fight over whether workers should be compelled to pay union dues has risen to the Supreme Court level repeatedly since the passage of the NLRA.

Michigan Right-to-Work Fight Tests A Depression-Era Law, Forbes, December 11, 2012. By Daniel Fisher.

"The same fight raged back during the Great Depression, when the National Labor Relations Act was passed giving unions the power to serve as the exclusive representatives of labor in the workplace. It was raging still in 1947, when Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act over President Harry S. Truman's veto, giving states the right to opt out of the requirement that workers pay dues. The law technically allowed states to ban "union security clauses" in labor contracts requiring workers to belong to unions. At the time, Truman said Taft-Hartley would make labor negotiations overly complex, insert the government into every deal between an employer and a union, and extend "an invitation to the States to distort national policy as they see fit."

Read the article