ABSTRACT: The preemption regime grounded in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is understood to preclude state and local innovation in the field of labor law. Yet preemption doctrine has not put an end to state and local labor lawmaking. While preemption has eliminated traditional forms of labor law in cities and states, it has not prevented state and local reconstruction of the NLRA’s rules through what this Article terms “tripartite lawmaking.” The dynamic of tripartite lawmaking occurs when government actions in areas of law unrelated to labor — but of significant interest to employers — are exchanged for private agreements through which unions and employers reorder the rules of union organizing and bargaining. These tripartite political exchanges produce organizing and bargaining rules that are markedly different from the ones the federal statute provides but that are nonetheless fully enforceable as a matter of federal law.
Professor Benjamin I. Sachs is the Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School and a leading expert in the field of labor law and labor relations.
- Benjamin I. Sachs. Despite Preemption: Making Labor Law in Cities and States, 124 Harv. L. Rev, 1153 (2011).