1. During the old Supreme Court, often referred to as the Lochner era, the court struck down laws that favored monopolies as violations of the privileges and immunities clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. This meant that blacks (or any other less preferred group) had a powerful weapon in dealing with racial discrimination in the market place: the right to work for lower wages. 2. Up until the New Deal. The National Recovery Act (NRA 1933) established codes that required the payment of set wages for certain industries. And who established the codes? The same union-business folks who saw to the exclusion of blacks in the first place. a. Set wages reduced an employers incentive to hire blacks. Sitkofff, A New Deal for Blacks, p. 330-335. Since there was no economic advantage in it, why engender the hostility of white workers? b. Many employers either dismissed black workers and hired whites in their place, or eliminated the lower level jobs held by blacks because the mandated wages were above the value of the job. Wolters, Negroes and the Great Depression, p. 122-123. 3. Section 7a of the NRA certified unions as exclusive bargaining agents. It became a vehicle to push Negroes out of an industry, and/or to make the union totally white. The black press referred to the act as Negroes Ruined Again, and No Roosevelt Again. Williams, "Race & Economics," chapter five. 4. In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled the NRA unconstitutional. New Dealers mourned but blacks cheered. Not for long- section 7a of the NRA became section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), called the Wagner Act (1935). Sure enough, unions became the sole collective bargaining unit. The Act banned company unions, and allowed barring non-members from employment. Wagner had dropped the anti-discrimination clause in order to gain union support. Most New Dealers thought that discrimination against blacks was an acceptable cost of economic recovery. Sitkoff, Op.Cit., p.52. a. Interesting to note the difference between the Roosevelt Court, and the Lochner Court, in which Peckham wrote for the majority: In the Courts view, the hour limits therefore violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which says no state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Lochner Isn b. In two NLRB cases, in 1945, first the board ruled that a bargaining agent must represent all employees fairly (Lazarus & Brother) .then turned around and decided that segregation and exclusion of blacks from union membership was not an unfair labor practice (Atlanta Oak Flooring). 5. New Deal legislation was devastating for blacks. In 1930, the unemployment rate was 6.13% nationally but only 5.17% for blacks. 1930 was the last year more whites than blacks would be unemployed. Vedder and Galloway, Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, table 1.3, p.8.