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Among the many competing goals of national labor policy, two have been frequently proclaimed and staunchly defended, almost but never quite to the death, by the Supreme Court of the United States. One is industrial peace; the other is freedom of contract—collective contract, to be sure. Both goals indeed are embedded deeply in the myth and in the reality of national labor policy.

It is hardly surprising that industrial peace is a proclaimed labor policy goal. But it may seem surprising to some that freedom of contract shares this distinction. No one thinks of the collective bargaining agreement as the perfect example of a free contract. In labor relations there is no freedom of choice, for example, with respect to one's contracting partner. Nor are the parties free to contract in any way they wish about union security; and about hot cargo, they often may not contract at all. Of course, the examples can be multiplied.

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