What Was the National War Labor Board in WWII?

The National War Labor Board was originally established in 1942 to resolve labor-management conflicts that threatened to halt war production. President Roosevelt later expanded the NWLB's duties to include wartime wage stabilization.

When President Franklin Roosevelt established the NWLB in 1942, union unrest threatened to stall the war effort by stopping industrial production. Roosevelt brought political, business and labor leaders together and charged them with the task of mediating and resolving all labor disputes that might impede the war effort. Almost immediately, the board was able to secure pledges from employees and employers to avoid strikes and lockouts during the war.

In 1942, President Roosevelt extended the NWLB's control by stipulating that adjustment of wages of $5000 or less would be cleared through the board. It made strides in securing equal pay for equal work for women and African-Americans, but by 1943, the NWLB was stifled by the expansion of its jurisdiction and limitation of its actual powers due to the war-related wage stabilization limits that rejected any wage increase that might raise prices on wartime goods. As a result, the board found itself increasingly at odds with the unions, and by 1943, it had been stripped of its authority.