U.S. labor law seeks to find a balance between the property rights of company owners and the labor rights of workers.

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Statutory law is described as law based on customs, traditions of acceptable behavior, and judicial precedent.
The conspiracy doctrine holds that individual attempts to influence wages and working conditions are a threat to the free market system and therefore an illegal conspiracy against the government.
In 1842, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Hunt that union actions are conspiratorial and therefore illegal, thus making labor unions unlawful conspiracies.
From 1880 to around 1930, a key weapon against unionization was the injunction or a court order to "cease and desist" activities deemed to be potentially harmful to others.
The use of injunctions to stop or limit picketing during strikes had a significant and negative impact on unionization by turning public support away from unions and demoralizing strikers.
Property rights of an employer include the right to do business, to hire and fire employees, and to interact with customers.
In addition to being used against strikers and unions, the injunction was frequently used against one business when its actions were deemed to threaten the property rights of another business.
A yellow dog contract is a promise by employers to hire only union workers at their place of business.
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was designed to outlaw monopolies and prevent their economic dominance over markets and over society.
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was often used against unions by treating them as a monopoly when they tried to exert pressure on an employer using tactics such as boycotts and strikes.
During the early 1900"s, unions were viewed by the law as voluntary organizations of individuals and, since U.S. law valued individual liberty and freedom above all else, unions and workers were allowed relative freedom to use whatever means they could to protect their wages and working conditions.
A key underlying concern regarding the use of the injunction against unions was its limiting influence on free speech.
The Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 sought to remedy the imbalance between an employer and an individual worker by limiting the role of the courts in labor-management relations.

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Under the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, courts were explicitly prohibited from interfering with peaceful union activities, yellow dog contracts became unenforceable, and the conspiracy doctrine was effectively overturned.
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