Hot Cargo Clause Law and Legal Definition

A hot cargo clause is a clause in union contract allowing employees to refuse to handle or work on goods shipped from a struck plant or to provide services to an employer listed on a union unfair list. For example, hot cargo clauses provided that union workers at neutral companies, such as warehouses, could refuse to handle goods from a struck employer. Most hot cargo clauses were made illegal by the Taft-Hartley Act, but there are some exceptions.

Under a typical hot cargo clause, the employer agrees not to handle or use the products of other employers which the union feels are unfair or anti-union. Federal labor law generally declares such agreements to be void and unenforceable on the basis that it puts too much pressure on the struck employers to settle strikes on terms favorable to the workers.