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Dwight D. Eisenhower: Special Message to the Congress on Labor-Management Relations.
Dwight
Dwight D. Eisenhower
22 - Special Message to the Congress on Labor-Management Relations.
January 28, 1959
Public Papers of the Presidents
Dwight D. Eisenhower<br>1959
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1959
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To the Congress of the United States:
In the State of the Union Message on January ninth, I reported again to the Congress on the need for enactment of effective Federal legislation designed:
To safeguard workers' funds in union treasuries against misuse of any kind whatsoever.

To protect the rights and freedoms of individual union members, including the basic right to free and secret election of officers. To advance true and responsible collective bargaining.

To protect the public and innocent third parties from unfair and coercive practices such as boycotting and blackmail picketing.

There is submitted herewith for the consideration of the Congress a 20-point program which will eliminate abuses demonstrated by the hearings of the McClellan Committee, protect the public interest and insure the rights and economic freedoms of millions of American workers.

Complete and effective labor-management legislation, not a piecemeal program, is essential to assure the American public that true, responsible collective bargaining can be carried on with full protection to the rights and freedoms of workers and with adequate guarantees of the public interest. These recommendations, when adopted, should do much to eliminate those abuses and improper practices which, I am firmly convinced, the American public expects and believes will be corrected through legislative action. Equally important, they will do so without imposing arbitrary restrictions or punitive measures on the legitimate activities of honest labor and management officials.

I recommend legislation--

1. To require all unions to file detailed annual reports with the Department of Labor and furnish information to their members with respect to their financial operations. These reports would be open to the public, including union members.

2. To require all unions to file with the Department of Labor, as public information, copies of their constitutions and bylaws and information as to their organization and procedures, which would be required to include provisions, which are observed, meeting minimum standards for periodic secret ballot elections of officers, for the removal of officers, and for the imposition of supervisory control over the affairs of subordinate bodies.

3. To require all unions to keep proper records on the matters required to be reported, open to examination by Government representatives and to permit union members, subject to reasonable conditions and upon request, to see and examine these records.

4. To require unions, union officers and agents, and employers to report and keep proper records with respect to any payments, transactions, or investments which create conflicts of interests or have as their objective the interference with the statutory rights of individual union members and employees.

5. To require that union officers hold and administer union funds and property solely for the benefit of the union members and for furthering the purpose of the union and to make this duty enforceable in any court in a suit for an accounting by the union or by members.

6. To require that unions observe minimum standards for the conduct of the elections of officers, including in addition to periodic elections, the right of members to vote in secret without restraint or coercion and upon due notice, uniform opportunity for all members to be candidates, procedures to ensure an accurate tabulation of votes, a ban upon the use of union or employer funds to promote candidacies for union office, and requiring constitutions and bylaws to contain detailed statements of election procedures and compliance with such procedures.

7. To require unions to observe minimum standards and to conform to the appropriate provisions of their constitution and bylaws in exercising supervisory control over the affairs of subordinate bodies; such control should be limited in purpose to correcting corruption, or the disregard of democratic procedures or other practices detrimental to the rights of the members in the subordinate body, and assuring the performance of duties as a bargaining representative.

8. To place the administration of this legislation in the Secretary of Labor and to provide him with appropriate and adequate authority to issue regulations, investigate, subpoena witnesses and records, bring court action to compel compliance and to correct violations, and institute administrative procedures leading to decisions and orders, which would be subject to judicial review, necessary to effectuate the purposes of the legislation.

9. To prescribe criminal penalties for wilful violations of the Act, for concealment or destruction of records required to be kept, for bribery between employers and employee representatives, for improper payments by employers or their representatives to employees or employee representatives, for embezzlement of union funds, and for false entries or destruction of union books and records.

10. To preserve for union members any present remedies under State or Federal laws, in addition to those provided under this legislation.

11. To amend the secondary boycott provisions of the National Labor Relations Act so as to cover the direct coercion of employers to cease or agree to cease doing business with other persons; union pressures directed against secondary employers not otherwise subject to the Act; and inducements of individual employees to refuse to perform services with the object of forcing their employers to stop doing business with others; and to make clear that secondary activity is permitted against an employer performing "farmed-out struck work" and, under certain circumstances, against secondary employers engaged in work at a common construction site with the primary employer.

12. To make it illegal for a union, by picketing, to coerce an employer to recognize it as the bargaining representative of his employees or his employees to accept or designate it as their representative where the employer has recognized in accordance with law another labor organization, or where a representation election has been conducted within the last preceding 12 months, or where it cannot be demonstrated that there is a sufficient showing of interest on the part of the employees in being represented by the picketing union or where the picketing has continued for a reasonable period of time without the desires of the employees being determined by a representation election; and to provide speedy and effective enforcement measures.

13. To authorize the National Labor Relations Board to decline to take cases where the effect on commerce is relatively insubstantial and to permit the State courts and agencies to act with respect to these cases.

14. To eliminate the statutory prohibition which presently bars certain strikers from voting in representation elections, although their replacements are permitted to vote, and instead to leave the voting eligibility of strikers, as well as all others, to the administrative discretion of the National Labor Relations Board.

15. To authorize the Board, under carefully considered specific conditions, to certify building and construction trades unions as bargaining representatives without an election.

16. In order to speed up the orderly processes of election procedures, to permit the Board under proper safeguards to conduct representation elections without holding a prior hearing where no substantial objection to an election is made.

17. To equalize the onus of the non-Communist affidavit by extending it to employers, as well as unions, wishing to use the processes of the Act.

18. To make clear that parties to a valid collective bargaining agreement need not negotiate during the life of the agreement unless they have provided for, or agree to, the reopening of the agreement.

19. To authorize the designation by the President of an acting General Counsel of the Board when vacancies occur in that office.

20. To require that the Board be bipartisan in composition by providing that not more than three members of the Board may be of the same political party.

I urge that Congress give prompt and favorable consideration to this program. Its enactment, in my opinion, would contribute greatly to the protection of the public interest and the basic rights of individual working men and women.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER



Citation: Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Special Message to the Congress on Labor-Management Relations.," January 28, 1959. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=11512.
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