Kennedy's labor advisors and friendly Democrats in the House attempted to aid the NLRB in its work by formulating a reorganization plan. It allowed the board's regional offices to make final reviews on issues of fact, rather than allowing appeals to the board itself. Their aim was to decrease the large backlog of undecided cases, which grew from 410 in 1958 to 1,151 in 1961, due in good part to the increasing number of requests by corporations for board-level reviews. But the Chamber of Commerce and the NAM objected vigorously, claiming that any delegation of authority would deny the right of review by "presidentially appointed board members," which they preferred because they thought that board members "were more vulnerable to political and public pressure than trial examiners obscured from public view" (Gross 1995, pp. 157-159). The conservative coalition then blocked the reorganization plan by a 231-179 vote in the House in July 1961. This outcome served notice that the NLRB was under close scrutiny by ultraconservatives in the corporate community as well as Congressional conservatives. It was also another defeat on labor issues for the liberal-labor alliance.
Most of Kennedy's high-level appointments in his cabinet and other important positions were moderate political figures or members of the corporate community, but this was not true for the appointments to the NLRB. Taking advantage of the unexpected opportunity to make two appointments in his first month in office, Kennedy quietly liberalized the board. His first appointment, Frank McCulloch, came from a liberal family that in the early twentieth century had been strongly supportive of integration. McCulloch graduated from Williams College in 1926, earned a law degree from Harvard, and then worked for a law firm in Chicago for five years in the mid-1930s. Leaving his legal career behind, he took a position as the industrial relations secretary for the Chicago-based Council of Social Action, a church-based organization. From 1949 until his appointment as chair the NLRB, he worked as an aide and liaison to unions for the liberal Democratic Senator from Illinois, Paul Douglas.
However, there was concern on the part of Southern Democrats about the possible inclusion of agriculture as an "industry," because they did not want to provide any encouragement toward unionization on the part of what was at the time a completely subjugated, and overwhelmingly African American, workforce. In response, Wagner insisted that agriculture was excluded from the purview of the legislation (Farhang and Katznelson 2005, p. 12). There was also implicit agreement that any issues having to do with agriculture and its labor force came under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which was known to be safely in the hands of conservative Democrats. Thus, this potentially divisive issue did not cause any further problems within the Democratic Party during the legislative process. And note well that from his point forward in the story, the concerns of Southern Democrats become paramount. The accommodation of those concerns made the eventual passage of the National Labor Relations Act possible two years later.
There are slightly conflicting claims on the origins of section 7(a). The specific language seems to have been suggested by W. Jett Lauck, the only labor-oriented member of the Wagner group that had primarily responsibility for drafting the administration's legislative proposal. An economist who was an advisor to John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, Lauck had served as the secretary for the National War Labor Board during World War I, so he was familiar with the tradition of accepting government involvement in collective bargaining in times of social upheaval (Vittoz 1987, p. 87). There is also some evidence that at least a handful of business executives and economists from the policy-planning network supported the idea, apparently because they believed unions could play a positive role in stabilizing such highly competitive and wage-cutting industries as coal mining and garment making (e.g., Gordon 1994 Chapter 3; Vittoz 1987, Chapters 2 and 3). However, as subsequent resistance to union involvement in the code authorities demonstrates, most of the corporate leaders who at first seemed willing to accept some degree of union involvement became highly opposed to unions. It is also clear that the most important labor leaders of the 1930s, Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, and William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, spoke directly with several of the people involved in drafting the bill.
The AFL successfully proposed an important, and controversial, amendment to the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 once it reached Congress. It insisted that language from the pro-labor Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 be added to the simple declaration of the right to collective bargaining in section 7(a). The additional clause stated that employees "shall be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor or their agents..." (Bernstein 1969, p. 31). Moreover, the AFL wanted a seemingly small change in a clause in the Norris-LaGuardia Act stating that "no employee and no one seeking employment shall be required as a condition of employment to join any organization or to refrain from joining a labor organization of his own choosing." In a phrase aimed directly at the Rockefeller industrial relations network, the AFL demanded that the word "organization" be replaced by "company union," which raised the corporate moderates' hackles immediately (Bernstein 1969, p. 31). But the AFL's amendments made it into the bill passed by the House despite the NAM's desire to eliminate section 7(a) entirely. However, at this moment NAM did not have the support of its temporarily more moderate ally, the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber remained neutral because it had made a private agreement with the AFL that it would accept the collective bargaining provision in exchange for labor's support for the price-setting provisions (Bernstein 1950, p. 35).
According to a report released by the , which conducts research and education on philanthropy, Americans are donating more money to charity than ever before as total charitable donations from individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations rose to US$ 373.25 billion, representing a 4% increase compared to 2014. On average, Americans are therefore giving more than $1 billion to charity per day.
In the aftermath of the summer of violence in 1877, a few railroad corporations began to consider the use of employee benefits, such as accident insurance and old-age pensions, to mollify workers. Generally speaking, though, very little changed in terms of employer/employee relations. Instead, corporate leaders put their efforts into creating stronger military forces to control workers when necessary, starting with reorganized militias and fortified local armories. In addition, militia units were often directly funded and supplied by corporate leaders: Cyrus McCormick, Sr., the founder of International Harvester (now called Navistar), equipped an Illinois National Guard regiment, and a group of Chicago businessmen funded five cavalry companies (Smith 2003). The regular army also developed close ties to the industrial companies in urban areas. Three business leaders in Chicago, for example, provided the money for a military base just twenty miles north of their city (Archer 2007, pp. 121-122; Cooper 1980, pp. 85-86). The use of private security forces in labor disputes also grew. Business leaders paid for and directed the activities of deputy sheriffs and deputy marshals, regularly employed Pinkerton Detective Agency strikebreakers (the company had 30,000 regular and reserve agents in 1890), and attempted to establish and control their own police forces (Norwood 2002; Smith 2003).
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The big industrialists and their allies in city governments across the country used what was quickly labeled as the Haymarket Riot as a pretext for a major counterattack by federal troops and private business armies. They now defined all union leaders as Communists, socialists, and especially, anarchists. The result of the corporate and government repression was a complete defeat for the Knights of Labor on both the eight-hour day and the railroad strike. Moreover, the organization gradually collapsed over the next few years, losing 90% of its membership in four years (e.g., Lambert 2005, p. 57). Four of the anarchists involved in organizing the Haymarket demonstration were hanged from the gallows in Chicago six months after the riot, even though there was no evidence that any of them were involved in planting the bomb. A fifth committed suicide in his jail cell before he could be hanged.
But after 1877 American labor relations were the most violent in the Western world with the exception of Russia (Mann 1993). It is one of those superficial paradoxes of history that the most democratic and the most despotic countries in the Western world would have the most violent labor clashes. The strongly held American belief in the right of business owners to have complete control over their property, along with business dominance of both political parties and a history of violence in dealing with Native Americans and slaves, not to mention the horrendous casualty rate in the Civil War, made the pitched labor battles seem as normal and expectable to most Americans as they were to Russians with their totally different history. Between 1877 and 1900, American presidents sent the U.S. Army into 11 strikes, governors mobilized the National Guard in somewhere between 118 and 160 labor disputes, and mayors called out the police on numerous occasions to maintain "public order" (Archer 2007, p. 120; Cooper 1980, pp. 13-16; Lambert 2005, p. 44).
Although various factors seem to have contributed to the decline of the Knights, including tensions between craft and unskilled workers, Voss (1993, pp. 186-204) uses cross-national comparisons with Great Britain and France, and a close look at the rise and decline of Knight assemblies in New Jersey, to argue that the most important factor was the unusual strength and cohesion of American employer associations. These associations displayed brutal determination in combating the growth of labor unions, because they dominated local governments and political parties. Voss then draws an important contrast when she shows that the British and French governments in effect forced employers to compromise with workers (Voss 1993, pp. 238-239). For a combination of reasons, including the continuing power of land-based aristocrats and the greater strength of their national governments, the business owners did not dominate Britain or France (cf. Guttsman 1969; Hamilton 1991; Mann 1993).