The purpose of this article is to analyze certain characterizations of "substantive law" by the United States Supreme Court in the labor contract field; to determine what impact these designations may have on Nebraska law; and finally, to solve the two jigsaw puzzles created by the interplay of these decisions with both Nebraska and other federal law. The Supreme Court has held that Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act creates a body of federal substantive contract law. The question involved with respect to Nebraska law is whether this creation of federal contract law has any effect upon the Nebraska rule against enforcement of arbitration agreements. To be considered also are the problems raised by an attempt to enforce, through injunction, a no-strike clause contained in a labor contract. It is from these framework pieces that the first puzzle must be constructed. The second puzzle with which this article deals is the combined result of the Nebraska "right-to-work" law, a recent Supreme Court holding that state courts may enforce their prohibitions against an agency shop union security agreement, and a statement by the Court that state substantive law determines whether a particular union security device is prohibited. The questions here raised concern the possible situations in which Nebraska law can determine the validity of a clause in a collective bargaining contract which otherwise would be valid under federal law, and, further, the point at which this state power commences. The dominant theme is thus one of preemption in situations where Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act or Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act are operative. These problems have been raised by Supreme Court characterization of "substantive law," and are particularly important to the Nebraska attorney because the Nebraska internal law in these and related areas is significantly affected.
Fredric H. Kauffman,
Substantive Law and the Labor Contract—Two Nebraska Puzzles,
43 Neb. L. Rev. 560
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol43/iss3/5