History 430: Theory and Practice

Document Type

Undergraduate Research

Publication Date

Fall 12-15-2010


Before World War II, there was an unstable atmosphere to the industrial sector of the United States economy. As World War II began the industries settled down, and the production of means for the war boomed, as the employees joined together against the Axis powers. After the war, the sense of duty that many union members felt disappeared and the mining industries began to reveal extensive problems with labor relations. Because of these two factors, the Taft-Hartley act was compiled through a joint committee in June 1947. In the act, there were many provisions made to protect both the employer and employees from union pressure, protect the unions from infiltration by the 'commies,' and regulate union members' strikes, and much more. Many labor organizations believed this to be an attack on unions and its members. Employers believed the act protected employee and employer alike; but the disagreement over the act between these two sectors of the businesses resulted in a fight for and against the act. The Taft-Hartley act caused a propaganda war between unions and industries in Oklahoma that lasted for a decade and affected legislation and elections from 1947 to about 1952, until the Landrum-Griffin act of 1959 amended the act. The unions launched their campaign against the act during 1947, when the Republican Congress was considering many pieces of labor legislation. They unionized one of their largest unions, the United Mine Workers Association to speak out against this act. One of the major associations that supported the act in Oklahoma was the Associated Industries of Oklahoma. Both, the union and the employers association, were sending their propaganda to Picher, Oklahoma, thus affecting the small mining town's perception on the Taft-Hartley Act. The association of employers launched a campaign to the employers in Oklahoma against the Unions, sending out pamphlets that described horror stories of union intimidation and sabatoging Democrats. These pamphlets, sent by the association, made it to the owners of mines in Picher, Oklahoma, who were trying to persuade them to follow suit and protest against repealing the act. Because of such propaganda war fare, this act proceeded to be one of the most tumultuous pieces of labor legislation in the twentieth century.