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The National Labor Relations Act was passed during the Great Depression in an effort to define employer practices that would be considered unfair, thus protecting workers and in particular their right to organize and bargain collectively. What some consider to be the Magna Carta of American Labor, the law changed the workplace environment and led to a series of other laws that added restraints on workers and expanded existing laws to cover public employees. This entry describes the law and its impact.

The Law and Its Context

The Great Depression had settled across the country bringing with it anxiety, loss, and fear. The economic hard times produced uncertainty, resulting in a quest for security. There were more workers than jobs, and workers that had jobs sought to ...

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