The 1947 Labor Management Relations Act—better known as the Taft-Hartley Act after its two congressional sponsors—was a watershed moment in the development of the US political economy. The act revised the 1935 National Labor Relations (or Wagner) Act, which had established a legal regime far more favorable to labor unions than any before or since.1 Though spearheaded by Democrats and signed by President Franklin Roosevelt, the Wagner Act received substantial support from Republicans as well. The 1935 act helped drive union density to unprecedented heights, even as the labor movement itself splintered into the incumbent AFL and the insurgent CIO. By the Second World War, labor unions were far more plentiful, and organized labor far more powerful, than had ever been the case, a state of affairs reinforced by “maintenance of membership” and other wartime policies of the union-friendly Roosevelt administration. President Roosevelt and his successor, Harry Truman, also...
The Democratic-CIO Alliance: The Benefits of Friendship
DEVIN CAUGHEY is associate professor (with tenure) in the Political Science Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving bachelor's and master's degrees in history, he earned a doctorate in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. Caughey's first book, The Unsolid South (2018), examines electoral competition and congressional representation in the one-party South during and after the New Deal. His second, a forthcoming book coauthored with Christopher Warshaw, analyzes the dynamic interplay among public opinion, elections, and policymaking in the American states over the past eight decades. Caughey has also published a number of articles on American politics, both historical and contemporary, as well as on statistical methods, and he has even dabbled in comparative politics and international relations.
ERIC SCHICKLER is Jeffrey and Ashley McDermott Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of six books, including Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power (2016, with Douglas Kriner) and Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965, winner of the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs published in 2016. Schickler was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.
Devin Caughey, Eric Schickler; The Democratic-CIO Alliance: The Benefits of Friendship. Labor 1 September 2021; 18 (3): 120–125. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-9061521
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