Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 12 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

tion. Cf. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Massachusetts, 471 U. S. 724, 755 (1985) (state law held not pre-empted because it "neither encourage[s] nor discourage[s] the collective-bargaining processes").12



The Commissioner's answers to this pre-emption conclusion flow from two significant misunderstandings of law. First, the Commissioner conflates the policy that Livadas challenges with the state law on which it purports to rest, Labor Code 229, assuming that if the statutory provision is consistent with federal law, her policy must be also. But

12 Despite certain similarities, the question whether federal labor law permits a State to grant or withhold unemployment insurance benefits from striking workers requires consideration of the policies underlying a distinct federal statute, Title IX of the Social Security Act, see 26 U. S. C. 3301 (1988 ed. and Supp. IV); 42 U. S. C. 501 et seq.; 42 U. S. C. 1101 et seq. Thus, straightforward NLRA pre-emption analysis has been held inappropriate. See New York Telephone Co. v. New York State Dept. of Labor, 440 U. S. 519, 536-540 (1979) (plurality opinion); see also id., at 549 (Blackmun, J., concurring in judgment).

Noting that Nash v. Florida Industrial Comm'n, 389 U. S. 235 (1967), held state action pre-empted that was "like the coercive actions which employers and unions are forbidden to engage in," see id., at 239, it is argued here, see Brief for Employers Group as Amicus Curiae 7-12, that the NLRA prohibits only state action closely analogous to conduct that would support an unfair labor practice charge if engaged in by a private employer. Our cases, however, teach that parallelism is not dispositive and that the Act sometimes demands a more scrupulous evenhandedness from the States. See generally Wisconsin Dept. of Industry v. Gould, Inc., 475 U. S. 282, 290 (1986) (State may not debar employers with multiple NLRA violations from government contracting); compare Golden State I, 475 U. S. 608 (1986), with NLRB v. Servette, Inc., 377 U. S. 46, 49-54 (1964) (private actor may refuse to deal with employer based on impending strike); but cf. Building & Constr. Trades Council v. Associated Builders & Contractors of Mass. /R. I., Inc., 507 U. S. 218, 227- 228 (1993) (the Act does not always preclude a State, functioning as an employer or a purchaser of labor services, from behaving as a private employer would be entitled to do).

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