Labor Law – State Jurisdiction Over Acts Which Are Unfair Labor Practices Under Federal Labor Legislation

Extensive federal labor legislation under the commerce clause has created a perplexing jurisdictional problem in the state courts, which are confronted increasingly with the critical issue of possible conflict with a federal preemptive area of operation. The extent to which the federal government has superseded state jurisdiction over labor matters has remained unsettled under the current case law and the legislative history of the federal acts, and the need for clarification is apparent at a time when labor cases are reaching the courts in increasing numbers. It is natural for unions to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction in state courts to avoid sanctions dictated by local policies, and to resort to the National Labor Relations Board for uniform and comprehensive remedial action. Employers, on the other hand, depending on celerity of action to prevent economic losses, tend to resort to state tribunals, which usually offer a swifter remedy than does federal administrative action. Two recent decisions by the Supreme Court are significant to the clarification of this area of federal-state relations. It is the purpose of this comment to consider the import of these decisions.