Vanderbilt Law Review


David H. Brody

First Page



Much of the current debate concerning labor-management cooperative efforts centers on section 8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), which makes dominating, interfering with, or contributing to the formation or administration of any labor organization an unfair labor practice. On its face, this section may inhibit cooperative efforts through a prohibition of management support for employee organizations. The effect of section 8(a)(2), however, need not be so restrictive because of the Act's underlying concern for the effectuation of employee freedom of choice. A concern for employee free choice provides a means for permitting positive cooperative efforts, consistent with trends in labor-management relations, while preventing the abuses feared by the drafters of the Act.

An examination of the legislative history surrounding the passage of the Act in 19354 is crucial to understanding section 8(a)(2) because much of the debate on the original Act 5 centered on what eventually became section 8(a)(2) . Although the stated purpose of the 1935 Act was "[t]o promote equality of bargaining power between employers and employees [and] to diminish the causes of labor disputes,"' the discussion surrounding the formation of this Act reveals that the controlling intent of the Act's drafters was to eliminate the company-dominated union." To effectuate their goals, the drafters structured the Act in a way that forces labor and management into adversarial positions. Contrary to the contentions of later cases, the Act's drafters did not intend to promote cooperation between labor and management. The legislative history indicates that the drafters were more concerned with cooperation among labor itself,' with the belief that if employees could in-crease their power through cooperation with each other, then labor could bargain as an equal with management.