contract(or a "yellow dog contract" or a yellow-dog clause [ [http://www.jargondatabase.com/Jargon.aspx?id=795 JargonDatabase.com definition] ] of a contract) is an agreement between an employer and an employee in which the employee agrees, as a condition of employment, not to be a member of a labor union. In the United States, such contracts were, until the 1930s, widely used by employers to prevent the formation of unions, most often by permitting employers to take legal action against union organizers. In 1932, yellow-dog contracts were outlawed in the United States under the Norris-LaGuardia Act. [cite web | title = "Coercion, Contract and the Limits of the Market" (CAE Working Paper #06-01) | author = Kaushik Basu | month = January | year = 2006 | url = http://www.arts.cornell.edu/econ/CAE/06-01.pdf] [Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "The Crisis of the Old Order, 1919-1933", (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1957), pp. 238-239]
The term yellow-dog clause can also have a different meaning:
non-compete clauses within or appended to a non-disclosure agreementto prevent an employee from working for other employers in the same industry. [ [http://www.dadgum.com/halcyon/BOOK/BIGGS.HTM James Hague, compiler & editor, Stephen Biggs: "Halcyon Days: Interviews with Classic Computer and Video Game Programmers", June 2002] ]
Origin of term and brief history
In the 1870s, a written agreement containing a pledge not to join a union was commonly referred to as the "Infamous Document". This strengthens the belief that American employers in their resortto individual contracts were consciously following English precedents. This anti-union pledge was also called an "iron clad document", and from this time until the close of the 19th century "iron-clad" was the customary name for the non-union promise. Beginning with New York in 1887, sixteen states wrote on their statute books declarations making it a criminal act to force employees to agree not to join unions. The Congress of the United States incorporated in the
Erdman Actof 1898 a provision relating to carriers engaged in interstate commerce.
During the last decade of the 19th century and the opening years of the 20th, the individual, anti-union promise declined in importance as an instrument in labor warfare. Its novelty had worn off, workmen no longer felt themselves morally bound to live up to it, and union organizers, of course, wholly disregarded it. In the early 1900s, the individual, anti-union promise was resorted to frequently in coal mining and in the metal trades. And it was not membership in a union that was usually prohibited, but participation in those essential activities with out which membership is valueless.
In 1910, the International United Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods, following an unsuccessful conference with the National Saddlery Manufacturers' Association, called a national strike in the saddlery industry for the 8-hour day. The strike proved a failure, and a large number of employers required verbal or written promises to abandon and remain out of the organization as a condition of re-employment.
In the case "
Adair v. United States", the United States Supreme Court's majority held that the provision of the Erdman Actrelating to discharge, because it would compel an employer to accept or retain the personal services of another person against the employer's will, was a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which declares that no person shall be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law. The court was careful, however, to restrict the decision to the provision relating to discharge, and to express no opinion as to the remainder of the law. The section of the Erdman Act making it criminal to force employees to sign anti-union agreements therefore remained unadjudicated.
The term yellow dog started appearing in the spring of 1921, in leading articles and editorials devoted to the subject which appeared in the
labor press. Typical was the comment of the editor of the United Mine Workers' Journal:
:This agreement has been well named. It is yellow dog for sure. It reduces to the level of a :yellow dog any man that signs it, for he signs away every right he possesses under :the Constitution and laws of the land and makes himself the truckling, helpless slave :of the employer. [Joel I. Seidman, "The Yellow Dog Contract", The Johns Hopkins Press, 1932, Ch. 1, pp.11-38]
A yellow-dog union, sometimes also known as a
company unionrefers to an employee association calling itself a trade union but which, in fact, is affiliated covertly or which is operated openly by an employer.
6. Ross Thomas,"Yellow Dog Contract" (William Morrow, NY, 1976), a novel.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
yellow dog contract — n. An employment contract that threatens to fire an employee if he or she joins a labor union, prohibited under most laws and unenforceable in court. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney… … Law dictionary
yellow–dog contract — see contract Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 … Law dictionary
yellow-dog contract — An agreement in which an employer forbids an employee to join a labor union. Yellow dog contracts are unenforceable. Category: Business, LLCs & Corporations Category: Employment Law & HR Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary. Gerald N. Hill,… … Law dictionary
yellow-dog contract — ☆ yellow dog contract [yel′ōdôg΄ ] n. an employer employee contract, now illegal, by which an applicant for a job agrees not to be a labor union member while employed … English World dictionary
yellow-dog contract — /yel oh dawg , dog / a contract between a worker and an employer in which, as a condition of employment, the worker agrees not to remain in or join a union. [1915 20, Amer.] * * * ▪ labour agreement between an employer and an employee in… … Universalium
yellow-dog contract — noun a labor contract (now illegal) whereby the employee agrees not to join a trade union • Hypernyms: ↑labor contract, ↑labor agreement, ↑collective agreement * * * noun : a contract of employment in which a worker disavows membership in and… … Useful english dictionary
yellow-dog contract — yel′low dog′ con tract n. bus a preemployment contract with an employer, no longer enforceable, in which a worker agrees not to join a union while employed • Etymology: 1915–20, amer … From formal English to slang
yellow-dog contract — noun Date: 1920 an employment contract in which a worker disavows membership in and agrees not to join a labor union in order to get a job … New Collegiate Dictionary
yellow dog contract — employment contract between a worker and an employer wherein an employee agrees not to join a labor union … English contemporary dictionary
yellow-dog contract — An employment contract in which the employer forbids the employee to join a laor union. Such contracts are not legally enforceable … Business law dictionary