An Overview of the National Labor Relations Act

Experienced Indianapolis-based lawyer Courtney King works as an associate attorney at Ice Miller LLP. As an attorney focused on matters related to labor and employment, Courtney King has an in-depth understanding of laws such as the National Labor Relations Act.

A legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was passed by Congress in 1935 and gave employees the right to form trade unions, negotiate for improved working conditions, and organize collective actions if necessary. Prior to the passage of the Act, the rights of workers were limited, and employers were free to fire and, in some cases, even physically harm union members and those attempting to organize unions.

The NLRA also created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which enforces the Act, and led to a surge in union membership; in fact, 35 percent of America’s workforce was part of a union by the mid-1940s. Although later acts somewhat weakened the NLRA, it and the NLRB still govern labor relations in private companies today.

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