The early 19th century marked the US government’s struggles with monopolies, cartels and market trusts that jeopardized consumerism. The government responded by formulating antitrust Acts to protect consumers against exploitation. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first legislation meant to stop oppressive market conducts undertaken by monopolies and cartels. The federal law burned trusts and other conspiracies that undermined national and international trade. In 1914, the US Congress enacted the Clayton Antitrust Act to counter unethical business conducts like unprofessional competitors’ merger and price discrimination. The two predatory laws received reinforcement from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that was enacted by the Congress in 1935. The NLRA was geared towards the protection of employees and employers’ labor rights. The NLRA enabled collective bargaining and contested managerial policies that undermined businesses and workers’ welfare thereby enriching the economy and labor unions.
The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 is a federal legislation enacted to prevent unwanted union conducts and allow disclosure of labor activities and finances for accountability. Also referred to as the National Labor Management Relations Act, the Taft-Hartley Act is an amendment of the NLRA which curbed union abuses and promoted collective bargaining agreements.
The most common items of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) are minimum wage, working hours, and family/medical leave. A CBA ensures that union members are paid a desirable minimum wage that can efficiently support their basic needs. The bargained time ensure that laborers offer their services within paid schedule while family/medical leave ensure employees are given family and medical leave when appropriate. The Fair Labor Standards Act protects minimum wage and working time of unionists. Likewise, the family/medical leave is protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act.