AGENCIES OF 1935
National Labor Relations Board: This independent agency
was created to promote organized labor. It holds secret ballots to determine
whether a company's employees wanted to unionize; it also prevents unfair
practices by either employers or unions. After the NLRB was formed, organized
labor received a significant boost in this country. By 1941, there were
10.5 million unionized workers, three times as many as a decade before.
Rural Electrification Administration: This agency was created
to raise the standard of rural living, and to stop the migration of rural
Americans into the cities. After the REA was created, nine out of ten farms
received electricity for the first time. Ironically, electrification did
not slow down migration into the cities, but actually sped it up after
machines replaced countless farm hands.
Works Progress Administration: The WPA created a massive labor
army out of the unemployed - so massive, in fact, that Republicans charged
it was a Democratic vote gimmick. In 1934, there were over 11 million unemployed;
the WPA, over its eight-year span, put 8.5 million of them to work, at
a cost of approximately $11 billion. The agency's construction projects
produced more than 650,000 miles of roads, 125,000 public buildings, 75,000
bridges, 8,000 parks and 800 airports.
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