War Labor Board
WAR LABOR BOARD
The War Labor Board (WLB) was a federal executive branch office that had authority to settle all labor disputes that could interfere with domestic industrial production during World War II (1939–1945). Established within the Office of Executive Management on January 12, 1942, WLB was a tripartite body consisting of twelve commissioners appointed by the president, with four commissioners representing management, four commissioners representing labor, and four commissioners representing the public. The chairman and vice-chairman were selected from the public's representatives. Labor and management representatives agreed there would be no strikes or lockouts for the duration of the war.
To resolve more quickly any disputes that might arise, WLB created ten regional offices, each with twelve commissioners who were vested with nearly the same powers as the national commissioners. Labor disputes were escalated according to a defined procedure. The parties were first required to negotiate pursuant to the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. If the dispute could not be settled in this manner, the Commissioners of conciliation at the Department of Labor would intervene. If their intervention failed to produce a satisfactory result, the Secretary of Labor was required to certify the matter to WLB, which would make a final determination via mediation, arbitration, or some other mutually acceptable process.
WLB was established in part to replace the Defense Mediation Board, which had been largely ineffective since its creation in 1941. On December 31, 1945, WLB itself was terminated and replaced by the National Wage Stabilization Board in the Labor Department.
See also: War Labor Disputes Act, World War II