In the interpretation and application of this article, and otherwise, it is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining, and to protect employees in the exercise of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing for the purposes of collective bargaining, or other mutual aid and protection, free from the interference, restraint or coercion of their employers. It is also hereby declared as the public policy of this state that the best interests of the people of the state are served by the prevention or prompt settlement of labor disputes and that the voluntary resolution of such disputes will tend to promote permanent industrial peace and the health, welfare, comfort and safety of the people of the state. Representatives of employers and employees engaged in such disputes are encouraged voluntarily to submit them to the agency created by this article prior to engaging in a strike, lock-out or other cessation of employment; and should participate fully and promptly in any meetings which may be arranged by the agency for the purpose of resolving the dispute. To carry out such policy, the necessity for the enactment of the provisions of this article is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination. All the provisions of this article shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of this purpose. This article shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the state for the protection of the public welfare, prosperity, health and peace of the people of the state.