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SAN DIEGO UNIONS V. GARMON, 359 U. S. 236 (1959)

U.S. Supreme Court

San Diego Unions v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236 (1959)

San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon

No. 66

Argued January 20, 1959

Decided April 20, 1959

359 U.S. 236


Although the National Labor Relations Board had declined to exercise jurisdiction, a California state court was precluded by the National Labor Relations Act from awarding damages to respondents under state law for economic injuries resulting from the peaceful picketing of their plant by labor unions which had not been selected by a majority of respondents' employees as their bargaining agents. Pp. 359 U. S. 237-248.

(a) When an activity arguably subject to § 7 or § 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, as was the picketing here involved, the States, as well as the federal courts, must defer to the exclusive competence of the National Labor Relations Board. P. 359 U. S. 245.

(b) Failure of the National Labor Relations Board to assume jurisdiction does not leave the States free to regulate activities they would otherwise be precluded from regulating. Pp. 359 U. S. 245-246.

(c) Since the National Labor Relations Board has not adjudicated the status of the conduct here involved, and since such activity is arguably within the compass of § 7 or § 8 of the Act, the State's jurisdiction is displaced. P. 359 U. S. 246.

(d) A different conclusion is not required by the fact that all that is involved here is an attempt by the State to award damages, since state regulation can be as effectively exerted through an award of damages as through some form of preventive relief. Pp. 359 U. S. 246-247.

(e) United Automobile Workers v. Russell, 356 U. S. 634, and United Construction Workers v. Laburnum Corp., 347 U. S. 656, distinguished. Pp. 359 U. S. 247-248.

49 Cal. 2d 595, 320 P. 2d 473, reversed.

Page 359 U. S. 237

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