Posted by Word Camels on March 04, 2003
In Reply to: Yellow-dog Contract posted by S. on March 04, 2003
: Any idea why a "yellow-dog contract", i. e., "an employment contract in which a worker disavows membership in and agrees not to join a labor union in order to get a job" is so called? Thanks for any information.
I suspect that it was called "yellow-dog" by workers in the union because only a cowardly (yellow) dog would agree to give up the right to organise just to get a job.
According to the "Labor-Pedia" I found, the Erdman act of 1898 outlawed the railroad's use of yellow-dog contracts in the United States. The act came as a direct result of the Pullman Strike of 1894. I'm guessing the term and many others must have come into being around that time (1836-1900) as a direct result of the birth of the labour movement.
"Blackleg", a term used in 1834 to describe a craftsman who "undercut others or replaced others at a lower wage" is another term I found in the Labor-Pedia.