Chamber of Commerce v. Lockyer

Guest blogger: Steven M. Chanley

Chamber of Commerce v. Lockyer (9th Cir.)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down on NLRA preemption grounds a California statute that forbids a recipient of state funding from using any of those funds to promote or deter union organizing. Although somewhat facially neutral, the problem was that, in practice, the statute had a disparate impact on an employer’s right of free speech as to matters falling within the NLRA’s coverage. Accordingly, the statute was found to be preempted under both the Garmon and Machinists preemption doctrines.

Comment: Another example of the NLRA forbidding states from putting their thumb on one side of the scale or the other in matters of unionizing. Isn’t it best just to leave such matters to a well-informed employee electorate, whose personal rights are at stake anyway?