Building & Constr. Trades Council v. Associated Builders & Contractors of Mass./R. I., Inc., 507 U.S. 218, 10 (1993)

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Cite as: 507 U. S. 218 (1993)

Opinion of the Court

within a protected zone, whether it be a zone protected and reserved for market freedom, see Machinists, or for NLRB jurisdiction, see Garmon. A State does not regulate, however, simply by acting within one of these protected areas. When a State owns and manages property, for example, it must interact with private participants in the marketplace. In so doing, the State is not subject to pre-emption by the NLRA, because pre-emption doctrines apply only to state regulation.

Our decisions in this area support the distinction between government as regulator and government as proprietor. We have held consistently that the NLRA was intended to supplant state labor regulation, not all legitimate state activity that affects labor. In Machinists, for example, we referred to Congress' pre-emptive intent to "leave some activities unregulated," 427 U. S., at 144 (emphasis added), and held that the activities at issue—workers deciding together to refuse overtime work—were not "regulable by States," id., at 149 (emphasis added). In Golden State I, we held that the reason Los Angeles could not condition renewal of a taxicab franchise upon settlement of a labor dispute was that "Machinists pre-emption . . . precludes state and municipal regulation 'concerning conduct that Congress intended to be unregulated.' " 475 U. S., at 614 (emphasis added) (quoting Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Massachusetts, 471 U. S., at 749). We refused to permit the city's exercise of its regulatory power of license nonrenewal to restrict Golden State's right to use lawful economic weapons in its dispute with its union. See 475 U. S., at 615-619. As petitioners point out, a very different case would have been presented had the city of Los Angeles purchased taxi services from Golden State in order to transport city employees. Brief for Petitioners 35. In that situation, if the strike had produced serious interruptions in the services the city had purchased, the city would not necessarily have been pre-empted from advising Golden State that it would hire another company if


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