Evaluate the interpretations in both of the two passages and explain which you think is the more convincing explanation of the impact of the New Deal on Trade Union and Labour Rights. [30]

Passage A ;The Second New Deal was more radical than the first as it tried to reform areas which affected ordinary people, such as union rights. Following the 1934 elections, with the left making huge gains, Roosevelt wanted to realign himself with this development. This encouraged a more radical outlook. The first major Act was the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act which was passed in July 1935. Roosevelt was reluctant to become involved in labour relations and did not initiate this act, only giving it his support when it had passed the Senate and was likely to become law. The act was a landmark in US history as it forced employers to recognise unions, forbade the sacking of workers for being union members, gave workers some legal the protection and established the National Labor Relations Board. The Act helped to create a peaceful way to solve labour disputes and end the violence that had characterised industrial unrest in the USA. Its success can be seen in the rise of union membership
Passage B ;It was to stabilise labour relations in the face of industrial unrest that the Wagner Act of 1935 was passed. There were waves of sit down strikes not controlled by the regular union leadership. In 1936 there were 48 and in 1937 477. In Chicago in 1937 a strike at Republic Steel brought the police out, firing at the strikers. The Wagner Act, from the unions’ point of view, helped union organizing. From the government’s point of view it was an aid to the stability of business and trade. Employers did not want unions but they were more controllable – more stabilizing for the system than wildcat strikes by rank and file workers. Workers won most during the spontaneous uprisings before the unions were recognised or well organised. Even when union membership rose enormously during the Second World War, the power of the unions was less than before. The members of the National Labor Relations Board were less sympathetic to workers, and state governments passed laws to hamper strikes. 

The New Deal is often seen as playing a pivotal role in the development of Union and Labour rights, with some claiming that, despite a period of severe economic downturn Unions were able to make considerable gains, whilst others have argued that little progress was made as workers were more concerned about simply keeping their job at a time of rising unemployment. Passage A argues that that the New Deal, and in particular the Wagner Act, had a positive impact on labour relations, whereas Passage B is less…


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