Yellow Dog Agreement Definition

February 14, 2022 4:29 pm Published by

In the world of business and law, you may come across a term called “yellow dog agreement”. This is a term used to describe a type of contract or agreement that is often signed between an employer and employee. Understanding what a yellow dog agreement is and what it entails is important, especially for employees who are looking to sign a new employment contract.

What is a Yellow Dog Agreement?

A yellow dog agreement is a contract between employer and employee that prohibits the employee from joining a labor union. These types of agreements gained popularity in the United States during the early 1900s as a way for companies to prevent their workers from forming unions. The name “yellow dog” comes from the idea that employees who signed these agreements were seen as “yellow” or cowardly, as they were unwilling to join a union and fight for better working conditions.

What Does a Yellow Dog Agreement Entail?

A yellow dog agreement typically requires the employee to sign a contract stating that they will not join, support or assist any labor organization or union. This means that the employee cannot participate in any union activities, including organizing, bargaining, or striking. In exchange for signing the agreement, the employee is usually promised job security or other benefits that they may not receive if they were to join a union.

Are Yellow Dog Agreements Legal?

The legality of yellow dog agreements has been a point of contention for many years. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 made it illegal for employers to prevent employees from joining a union or engaging in union activities. However, early yellow dog agreements were often upheld by courts as legal contracts, and employees who violated them could be fired or face other penalties.

Today, yellow dog agreements are generally considered illegal and unenforceable. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that employees have the right to join or form a union, and employers cannot interfere with that right. Employers who attempt to enforce a yellow dog agreement may face legal action or penalties.


In summary, a yellow dog agreement is a type of contract between an employer and employee that prohibits the employee from joining a labor union. Though these types of agreements were once common, they are now considered illegal and unenforceable. Employees should be aware of their rights to join or form a union and should not be discouraged from doing so by any employer.

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