Building & Constr. Trades Council v. Associated Builders & Contractors of Mass./R. I., Inc., 507 U.S. 218, 15 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

restriction. See, e. g., Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U. S., at 746 ("Consideration under the Supremacy Clause starts with the basic assumption that Congress did not intend to displace state law").2 Indeed, there is some force to petitioners' argument, Brief for Petitioners 25, that denying an option to public owner-developers that is available to private owner-developers itself places a restriction on Congress' intended free play of economic forces identified in Machinists.


In the instant case, MWRA acted on the advice of a manager hired to organize performance of a cleanup job over which, under Massachusetts law, MWRA is the proprietor. There is no question but that MWRA was attempting to ensure an efficient project that would be completed as quickly and effectively as possible at the lowest cost. As petitioners note, moreover, Brief for Petitioners 26, the challenged action in this litigation was specifically tailored to one particular job, the Boston Harbor cleanup project. There is therefore no basis on which to distinguish the incentives at work here from those that operate elsewhere in the construction industry, incentives that this Court has recognized as legitimate. See Woelke & Romero Framing Co. v. NLRB, 456 U. S., at 662, and n. 14. We hold today that Bid Specification 13.1 is not government regulation and that it is therefore subject to neither Garmon nor Machinists pre-emption. Bid Specification 13.1 constitutes proprietary conduct on the part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which legally has enforced a valid project labor agreement. As Chief Judge Breyer aptly

2 Respondents suggest in their brief, Brief for Respondents 22, n. 12, that under H. K. Porter Co. v. NLRB, 397 U. S. 99, 103 (1970), 8(d) of the NLRA expressly prohibits the conduct of MWRA at issue in this case. The Court of Appeals did not rely on this section of the statute, nor did we grant certiorari on this question. We therefore decline the invitation to address the application, if any, of 8(d) to Bid Specification 13.1.

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