Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

15 Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 106 (1994)


In this article, Professor Adams examines preemption doctrine under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, focusing primarily on the Washington Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Commodore v. University Mechanical Contractors, Inc. The author traces the history of section 301 cases, comparing two different theories regarding its correct application. Under one theory, an employee's state law claim will be preempted if the underlying right is negotiable or if the employer's defenses implicate the collective bargaining agreement. Under the second theory, an employee's state law claim is preempted only when the right at issue derives from the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement; on the other hand, an employee's state law claim will not be preempted if it is based on an independent state law duty. Professor Adams argues that the Washington Supreme Court, in adopting the second theory of section 301 preemption, has remained faithful to the United States Supreme Court's "complete preemption" doctrine, while providing parties to collective bargaining agreements with a consistent method of adjudicating state law claims. He notes, however, a trend in lower federal courts and in state courts toward adoption of the first model and argues that if allowed to continue, that trend will be detrimental to the ability of unions to recruit employees and effectively bargain to protect their rights.