"The whole strategy of locking out the workers and urging the president to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act was clearly an employer strategy to get around negotiating a contract with these workers. It's a bad precedent. It gives management the upper hand."
-Bret Caldwell on the West Coast Dockworker Strike
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union
Wildcat Strike in June of 1959 in Cleveland. Taft-Hartley invoked by President Dwight Eisenhower
The Great Postal Worker Strike of 1970. Taft-Hartley invoked by President Richard Nixon
Wildcat Strike of 1959
In 1959, the United Steelworkers of America [USOA] demanded higher wages while the company management wanted to remove a clause in the union contract which protected jobs and worker hours. David McDonald, the president of USOA, called for the strike after their contracts expired, and in response, President Eisenhower proposed extending the contracts for both sides for one year and to appoint a committee to work out new contracts. This was promptly rejected by the steel company, and after a 5 month long strike, Eisenhower invoked the Taft-Hartley Act injunction in a federal court petition, ordering the steelworkers back to their jobs.
PATCO Strike of 1981
On August 3, 1981, about 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization [PATCO] went on strike after their union demanded a reduced 32-hour work week and higher pay, which was rejected by the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA]. President Reagan invoked the Taft-Hartley Act and declared that striking was illegal for public employees and that anyone who did not return to work within 48 hours would be terminated. The unions were fined $1 million per day of strike and 7,000 flights were cancelled. Forty-eight hours later, the striking Air Traffic Controllers were fired.
WEST COAST DOCKWORKER Strike of 2002
In October of 2002, Occupy protesters attempted to shut down America's west coast ports in support of an ongoing International Longshore Workers Union battle with EGT, in Longview, Washington. In response, President Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act in order to open the 20 ports, by intervening in the 11-day shutdown by seeking a court order to halt the employees' lockout of 10,500 Longshoremen, as the operation of the ports was vital to our economy and to our military.
THE GREAT POSTAL Strike of 1970
The Great Postal Strike came about as a result of disgruntled postal workers enduring years of substandard pay without collective bargaining rights. This came about at a time when Congress had voted to give itself a 40 percent salary increase, yet the workers were only offered a 4 percent raise. As a result, about 200,000 workers went on strike in March, and after President Nixon had called in the Army, they won a 6 percent pay raise.
"In the immediate aftermath of the PATCO strike, many observers reported that Reagan's actions marked a turning point in U.S. labor relations. If it is true that the strike is labor's 'only true weapon' as some unionists suggest, then practically the entire movement has been disarmed. This also indicates that the legal right of workers to organize and bargain collectively has little real meaning."
-Charles J. Whalen
Political Economist, Cornell University