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MBS – Senate Vote On Taft-Hartley Presidential Veto – June 23, 1947 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Long before the days of C-SPAN a Senate Vote, or just about anything on Capitol Hill, went virtually unnoticed by the public at large. But the Post-War period saw a change in that, and Radio began covering more events, bringing them live and un-cut to an audience very interested in the goings-on in Washington.
On this particular occasion, it was the Senate vote to override a Presidential Veto of the Taft-Hartley Bill. Taft-Hartley was a thorny issue, one to get thornier in the weeks and months leading up to the 1948 Presidential election.
The Taft–Hartley Act amended the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), prohibiting unions from engaging in several unfair labor practices. Among the practices prohibited by the act are jurisdictional strikes, wildcat strikes, solidarity or political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass picketing, closed shops, and monetary donations by unions to federal political campaigns. The NLRA also allowed states to pass right-to-work laws banning union shops. Enacted during the early stages of the Cold War, the law required union officers to sign non-communist affidavits with the government.
The bill was seen by many as a slap in the face of Organized Labor and a serious step in the direction of Union-busting. Others saw the bill as an improvement on the Wagner Act and saw it as a way of protecting small business against crippling strikes.
Either way, it was considered a hot-potato item and interest in how the vote went was high on most voter’s minds. The long-term effects speak for themselves.
Here is that roll-call vote as broadcast over Mutual on June 23, 1947 (sorry for the needle skips mid-way through, the acetate on the master disc was peeling off, but it managed to be saved before damage got any worse).