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State Statute Prohibiting Hiring Out-of-State Replacement Workers During Strike Is Unconstitutional
Description Appeals court held that a Washington state statute that made it a criminal offense to hire out-of-state workers to replace workers out on strike is unconstitutional. That area of law was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, which allows employers the right to hire replacement workers.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Strikebreaker Statute; Preemption
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Labor Ready was charged with violating the Washington state strikebreaker law, a criminal statute, which prohibits anyone involved in a labor strike or lockout dispute to recruit workers from out of state. Labor Ready helped Kaiser Aluminum find replacement workers for a plant where there had been a year-long lockout. The trial court dismissed the suit, ruling the statute unconstitutional. The state appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The strikebreaker statute is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act; it attempted to regulate actions that Congress intended to be left unregulated. Under the NLRA, an employer has a federal right to continue operations during an economic strike and to hire replacement workers. Similar statutes in other states have also been stricken as unconstitutional because the behavior they intend to regulate has been preempted by federal law.
Citation State v. Labor Ready, Inc., 14 P.3d 828 (Ct. App., Wash., 2000)

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