September Massacre: The Latest Battle in the War on Workers’ Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act

Source: Anne Marie Lofaso, West Virginia University – College of Law, May 2008

From the abstract:
This paper, electronically distributed on May 14, 2008, by the American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy, focuses on several of the sixty-one decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board in September 2007, a group of decisions that many in the labor community have referred to as the “September Massacre.” The paper discusses the decisions and their effects on the right to organize and other rights guaranteed under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The paper also explores “the aggregate, weakening effect by both the Bush Board and prior governmental action.” In exploring the decisions within this larger context, the paper explains that “many of the September decisions fit into a long history of legislative, administrative, and judicial cutbacks to the original NLRA,” and might most accurately be viewed as “the latest, and perhaps most serious, attack on workers’ rights.” The paper pays special attention to the NLRB’s Dana Corporation decision, one of the September decisions that is particularly harmful and revolutionary. The paper concludes with some thoughts on what the labor movement can do to regain economic and political power. Along those lines, the paper suggests a course that includes political activism, legislative changes (both substantive and procedural) to the NLRA, a federal judiciary willing to reverse the NLRB in appropriate circumstances, labor advocates being willing to use what remains of the NLRA to further workers’ rights, and renewed attention to the teaching of labor law in our nation’s law schools.

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