A Dictionary of American History

Author: Thomas L. Purvis  | Date: 1995

National Industrial Recovery Act

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)(16 June 1933) The brains trust conceived the NIRA as an alternative to the Black–Connery Bill. It was the First New Deal’s keystone law for business recovery and reform through a planned national economy. Title I created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to coordinate business and labor in drafting industry-wide codes (resembling the trade associations of the 1920s) to set wages, hours, fair competitive practices, standards of craftsmanship or manufacturing quality, and efficient levels of production. These codes for industrial self-regulation would be exempt from antitrust laws and have full legal force when approved by the president.

Section 7 of Title I defined fair labor practices, including a minimum wage of at least 30 cents an hour and abolition of child labor. Section 7(a) (termed “Labor’s Bill of Rights”) affirmed the right to organize unions and outlawed yellow-dog contracts. Title II funded $3.3 billion for the Public Works Administration.

On 7 January 1935, Section 9 of Title I—enabling the president to prohibit from interstate commerce oil manufactured in violation of state quotas—was declared unconstitutional in Panama Refining Company v. Ryan (the first Court ruling to strike down a New Deal law). The entire NIRA was struck down by Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States. The Little NIRA revived several measures, but the trouble-ridden NRA was abandoned in the Second New Deal that followed.


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Chicago: Thomas L. Purvis, "National Industrial Recovery Act," A Dictionary of American History in A Dictionary of American History (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Reference, 1995), Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MT3KPVZQNXVVD3U.

MLA: Purvis, Thomas L. "National Industrial Recovery Act." A Dictionary of American History, in A Dictionary of American History, Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell Reference, 1995, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MT3KPVZQNXVVD3U.

Harvard: Purvis, TL, 'National Industrial Recovery Act' in A Dictionary of American History. cited in 1995, A Dictionary of American History, Blackwell Reference, Cambridge, Mass.. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MT3KPVZQNXVVD3U.