Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 3 (1994)

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Cite as: 512 U. S. 107 (1994)


wage payments to discharged workers contradicts Labor Code 219, which expressly and categorically prohibits the modification of rules under the Code by "private agreement." Even at face value, however, the "hands off" label poses special dangers that advantages conferred by federal law will be canceled out and its objectives undermined, and those dangers are not laid to rest by professions of the need for governmental neutrality in labor disputes. Similarly, the vague assertions that the policy advances federal interests are not persuasive, since this Court has never suggested that the federal bias toward bargaining is to be served by forcing employees and employers to bargain for what they would otherwise be entitled to under state law. Fort Halifax Packing Co. v. Coyne, 482 U. S. 1, and the federal and state "opt-out" laws cited by the Commissioner, distinguished. Pp. 126-132. 2. Livadas is entitled to seek relief under 1983 for the Commissioner's abridgment of her NLRA right to complete the collective-bargaining process and agree to an arbitration clause. That right is at least immanent in the NLRA's structure, if it is not provided in so many words by the statutory text, and the obligation to respect it on the part of those acting under color of law is not vague or amorphous. Moreover, Congress has given no indication of any intent to foreclose actions like Livadas's, and there is no cause for special caution here. See Golden State Transit Corp. v. Los Angeles, 493 U. S. 103, 108-112. Pp. 132-135. 987 F. 2d 552, reversed.

Souter, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Richard G. McCracken argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Michael T. Anderson.

Malcolm L. Stewart argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Days, Deputy Solicitor General Wallace, Amy L. Wax, Linda Sher, and Norton J. Come. H. Thomas Cadell, Jr., argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent.*

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Allied Educational Foundation by Bertram R. Gelfand and Jeffrey C. Dannenberg; and for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations by Mark Schneider, Marsha S. Berzon, Laurence Gold, and Walter Kamiat.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States et al. by Marshall B. Babson, Stanley


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