Yellow Dog Contract definition

Yellow dog contracts, also known as yellow-dog clauses or ironclad oaths, are instances where employees agree, under the conditions of employment, not to enter into union relations or become a member of a union.

They were used extensively until the 1930s as a means to stop organised union protests and offered a route for companies to pursue union organisers legally. However, it’s key to note that since 1932, yellow-dog contracts are not enforceable following the passing of the Norris-LaGuardia Act (Section 3) in that year.

The term ‘yellow dog’ began appearing in the 1920s as a metaphor for what any signee would reduce themselves too by signing away significant constitutional rights.

Yellow-dog clauses can also refer to non-competition clauses that prevent employees from working for direct competitors and commercially harming their current employer.


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