The U. S. Supreme Court in May invited the U.S. solicitor general to file an amicus brief addressing whether the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) pre-empts a California law that prohibits some employers from using state funds to assist or deter unionization efforts.
In Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Brown, U.S. (No. 06-939), the Supreme Court will consider reviewing a 9th Circuit case. That case held that the NLRA does not pre-empt California’s labor neutrality law.
The law prohibits employers that receive more than $10,000 in state funds from using that money to assist or deter unionization efforts by their employees. In holding that the state law was not pre-empted, the 9th Cir-cuit reasoned that “California’s refusal to subsidize employer speech for or against unionization does not regulate an activity that is actually protected or actually prohibited by the NLRA.”
Other circuits have disagreed. The 2nd Circuit, for example, held that the NLRA pre-empts a New York law that prohibits employers from using state funds to influence union organization. California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., however, doesn’t believe that the 9th Circuit’s decision conflicts with any other circuit court decision.