Caravan to Oppose Taft-Hartley Act: 1947
Unions and supporters stage a “veto caravan” through the nation’s capital June 19, 1947 protesting the passage of the Taft-Hartley act that significantly restricted union rights.
The caravan is proceeding east on Independence Ave SW in Washington, D.C.
The act, still in effect today, was vetoed by President Harry S. Truman, but Democrats and Republicans combined in large numbers to override his veto in both the House and Senate June 23, 1947.
The bill was a response to the strike wave of 1945-46 and the onset of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. More than five million workers were involved in strikes in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
Among the bill’s provisions were outlawing closed (union-only) shops; permitting states to enact “right to work” laws that meant a union had to represent all workers in a unit even if they chose not to pay dues; permitting the President to intervene in strikes, prohibiting federal workers from striking, prohibiting secondary boycotts, prohibiting mass picketing, prohibiting sympathy strikes, barring communists from union leadership, barring unions from independent expenditures on behalf of political candidates and permitting employers to hold captive audience meetings with workers in order to oppose unionization.
After a brief upswing in the early 1950s, the percentage of organized union workers has declined steadily since the passage of the Taft-Harley Act.
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Photographer is unknown. The image is an auction find.