Yellow Dog Agreement Definition

Comments from publications such as the United Mine Workers` Journal were well received by many unionized workers at the time when they called the actions of employees who were willing to sign the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution to everyone, calling them “yellow dogs” and comparing them to voluntary slaves to their employers. In the spring of 1921, the term “yellow dog” was first published in publications aimed at people belonging to trade unions. The editor-in-chief of the United Mine Workers` Journal spoke on behalf of many when he commented: Nowadays, yellow dog contracts most often appear in the form of non-compete clauses. These are usually introduced by employers when they have a legitimate interest in preventing employees from working for a directly competitive company and potentially affecting the future success of their business. At the beginning of the 20th century, the only professions that still dealt with yellow dog contracts were coal mining and the metallurgical industry. In addition, a worker was no longer prohibited from joining a trade union, but from participating in activities that required an employee to join a trade union as a precondition. A yellow dog contract is an illegal agreement that an employer enters into with an employee in which the employee agrees not to associate with the company`s union. For example, “yellow dog contract” is a metaphor used to refer to the employee signing the document, as in: “What person would be such a `yellow dog` that they are reduced to signing their constitutional rights just to get a job.” In more modern terms, a yellow dog clause refers to a non-competition clause that an employer can incorporate into an employment contract.

By signing such a contract, the employee agrees not to work for a direct competitor in the future – which would ultimately harm their current employer. The Norris-LaGuardia Act, also known as the Anti-Injunction Bill, was a federal law passed in 1932. The Norris-LaGuardia Act declared contracts with yellow dogs illegal and prohibited federal courts from ruling on non-violent labor disputes. In addition, it prevented the federal government from inflaming a worker`s right to join a union if it so wished. The Norris-LaGuardia Act takes its name from its Republican sponsors: Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska and New York Representative Fiorello H. La Guardia. However, in the last years of the 19th century and in the early years of the 20th century, these anti-union statements became less important. At this point in the history of the Yellow Dog Treaty, the agreements had been in place for so long that workers no longer felt compelled to maintain them, and the union organizers didn`t even think about it. A yellow dog contract was advantageous for the employer because it provides the employer with legal recourse in the event that its employees initiate a mutiny against the company.

In 1932, a new philosophy circulated that the government should stay out of workers` right to organize. This led to the passage of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the end of contracts with yellow dogs, which were legally maintained. .

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