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Men carrying signs, wearing armbands in a protest.
Labor Unions
  1. Why May Day is Celebrated by Labor in Japan
  2. Japanese Automobile Companies in the United States
  3. American Auto Companies Borrow Japanese Methods
  4. Japanese Labor Unions and The Wagner Act
  5. Labor Unions and The Taft-Hartley Act
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What do you think this magazine cover protrays about the Taft-Hartley Act?
Photo courtesy of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Libraries, Social Movements Collection.
Labor Unions and The Taft-Hartley Act
The Taft-Hartley Act amended the Wagner Act. It was passed in the United States in 1947, over President Harry Truman’s veto. It banned "closed shops," which required that a person belong to a union before he or she could be employed. It let employees decide by majority vote whether or not to belong to a union. It allowed the federal government to go to court and ask for a temporary injunction, meaning a court order, against any strike that would imperil the nation’s health or safety. When SCAP began to roll back its liberal labor reforms, many of the restrictions were modeled after the Taft-Hartley Act. The Japanese government was also very involved in restraining labor. Workers in what were called "public enterprises," such as railroads, were not allowed to strike, nor were public employees. The government was given greater control over the internal affairs of unions. Much of this effort was geared at isolating unions from Communist influence. This led to what came to be calledthe "Red Purge." SCAP, the Japanese government, and employers, goaded by American congressmen complaining about the involvement of Communists in Japanese unions, worked together to remove active Communist Party members from government, unions, and industry. This occurred even though the Communist Party was a legal political party in Japan.
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