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American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919–1935$
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Jon R. Huibregtse

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034652

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034652.001.0001

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The Railway Labor Act

The Railway Labor Act

(p.65) 6 The Railway Labor Act
American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919–1935

Jon R. Huibregtse

University Press of Florida

The election of 1924 offered unions an opportunity to promote labor reform and marked the beginning of their final push to enact satisfactory reform legislation. The Railway Labor Act, signed into law in May 1926, was the culmination of labor's four-year battle to abolish the Railroad Labor Board (RLB) and ushered in a new era in labor relations. Railroad labor, management, and the federal government established a new cooperative relationship and accompanying institutions that served as models for the future. The RLA was a pioneering measure which established collective bargaining in the railroad industry a decade before that right was generally recognized. The RLA left many key issues unresolved which were soon to be addressed by the courts, which ultimately strengthened the law for unions.

Keywords:   Railway Labor Act, Railroad Labor Board, reform legislation, labor relations, railroad industry

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