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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  23 no distinctions between crafts. Like other CIO organizing drives, its mission was to represent both semi-skilled and unskilled broadcast workers in other broadcasting job categories (not just technicians). 24 NRA Ruled Unconstitutional May, 1935 On May 27, 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decree that the code- making provisions of the NIRA were unconstitutional. The day would later become known as Black Monday by those in Democratic circles. According to the court, the federal government had no authority to regulate hours and wages in any business that did not involve interstate commerce. This court decision, though it was rendered in a case involving the transport and sale of live poultry across interstate lines, at once served to nullify all NIRA-inspired collective bargaining pacts enacted since 1933. At the same time, though, those in organized labor knew that Roosevelt, despite his public rhetoric and support for labor, generally seemed to court the support of employer groups over the working person during his first term in office. Company unions stood to gain the most from the court’s decision. Management-dominated company unions, which grew to fruition under NIRA Section 7(a), received de facto approval to continue by the decision. The court reaffirmed the right of employees to organize without employer interference, and required management to collectively bargain with worker representatives--regardless of whether these representatives might be acting under the control of management through a company union front. Despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of the NRA codes in May, chain broadcasters remained supportive of the NRA codes and decided to continue abiding by them, regardless of the high court’s decision. By June 15, Broadcasting magazine reported that "voluntary adherence to all provisions of the broadcasting industry code seemed to be the rule, rather than the exception." David Sarnoff, RCA’s chairperson, announced that all of his subsidiaries including those in radio manufacturing and

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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23
no distinctions between crafts. Like other CIO organizing drives, its mission was to represent both
semi-skilled and unskilled broadcast workers in other broadcasting job categories (not just
technicians).
24
NRA Ruled Unconstitutional
May, 1935
On May 27, 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decree that the code-
making provisions of the NIRA were unconstitutional. The day would later become known as
Black Monday by those in Democratic circles. According to the court, the federal government
had no authority to regulate hours and wages in any business that did not involve interstate
commerce. This court decision, though it was rendered in a case involving the transport and sale
of live poultry across interstate lines, at once served to nullify all NIRA-inspired collective
bargaining pacts enacted since 1933.
At the same time, though, those in organized labor knew that Roosevelt, despite his public
rhetoric and support for labor, generally seemed to court the support of employer groups over the
working person during his first term in office. Company unions stood to gain the most from the
court’s decision. Management-dominated company unions, which grew to fruition under NIRA
Section 7(a), received de facto approval to continue by the decision. The court reaffirmed the right
of employees to organize without employer interference, and required management to collectively
bargain with worker representatives--regardless of whether these representatives might be acting
under the control of management through a company union front.
Despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of the NRA codes in May, chain broadcasters remained
supportive of the NRA codes and decided to continue abiding by them, regardless of the high court’s
decision. By June 15, Broadcasting magazine reported that "voluntary adherence to all provisions of
the broadcasting industry code seemed to be the rule, rather than the exception." David Sarnoff,
RCA’s chairperson, announced that all of his subsidiaries including those in radio manufacturing and


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