844 F.3d 318 (1st Cir. 2016), 15-1906, Labor Rels. Div. of Constr. Indus. of Massachusetts, Inc. v. Healey

Docket Nº:15-1906
Citation:844 F.3d 318
Opinion Judge:BARRON, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:LABOR RELATIONS DIVISION OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES OF MASSACHUSETTS, INC.; ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS LABOR RELATIONS DIVISION; BUILDING TRADES EMPLOYERS' ASSOCIATION OF BOSTON AND EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS; NEW ENGLAND MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION; NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION; PLUMBING-HEATING-COOLING CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIAT
Attorney:James F. Grosso and Miranda S. Jones, with whom O'Reilly, Grosso & Gross, P.C. was on brief, for appellant. Pierce O. Cray, with whom Maura Healey, Douglas S. Martland, and the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General were on brief, for appellee. Lindsey Powell, with whom Benjamin C. Mizer, P...
Judge Panel:Before Thompson and Barron, Circuit Judges, McConnell,[*] District Judge.
Case Date:December 16, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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844 F.3d 318 (1st Cir. 2016)

LABOR RELATIONS DIVISION OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES OF MASSACHUSETTS, INC.; ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS LABOR RELATIONS DIVISION; BUILDING TRADES EMPLOYERS' ASSOCIATION OF BOSTON AND EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS; NEW ENGLAND MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION; NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION; PLUMBING-HEATING-COOLING CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION OF GREATER BOSTON; BARLETTA ENGINEERING CORPORATION; CENTURY DRYWALL, INC., Petitioners, Appellants,

v.

MAURA T. HEALEY, in her capacity as Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Respondent, Appellee

No. 15-1906

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

December 16, 2016

Page 319

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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. Rya W. Zobel, U.S. District Judge.

James F. Grosso and Miranda S. Jones, with whom O'Reilly, Grosso & Gross, P.C. was on brief, for appellant.

Pierce O. Cray, with whom Maura Healey, Douglas S. Martland, and the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General were on brief, for appellee.

Lindsey Powell, with whom Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, Alisa B. Klein, Attorney Appellate Staff, M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, Beverly I. Dankowitz, Acting Associate Solicitor, Radine Legum, Counsel for Labor-Management Relations, and Adam R. Pulver, Attorney, Civil Rights and Labor-Management Division, were on brief for amicus curiae United States of America.

MacKenzie Fillow, Senior Counsel, Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, Jill Maxwell, Of Counsel, Margaret O'Hora, Of Counsel, David Smart, Of Counsel, and Ksenya Hentisz, Of Counsel, on brief for amicus curiae City of New York; Dennis Herrera, City Attorney, and Francesca Gessner, Deputy City Attorney, on brief for amicus curiae City and County of San Francisco; George Jepsen, Attorney General, on brief for amicus curiae State of Connecticut; Ian Warner, Legal Counsel to the Mayor of Seattle, on brief for amicus curiae City of Seattle; Jeremy Farrell, Corporation Counsel, on brief for amicus curiae City of Jersey City; Khalifah L. Shabazz, Corporation Counsel, on brief for amicus curiae City of East Orange; Domenick Stampone, Corporation Counsel, on brief for amicus curiae City of Paterson; and David L. Minchello, Corporation Counsel, on brief for amicus curiae City of Plainfield.

Jasper Groner, Donald J. Siegel, James A.W. Shaw, Louis A. Mandarini, and Segal Roitman, LLP, on brief for amicus curiae Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Mark A. Gottlieb, on brief for amici curiae A Better Balance, Coalition for Social Justice-Education Fund, Inc., Massachusetts Public Health Association, and the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Northeastern University School of Law.

Ingrid I. Nava, Katherine D. Shea, David B. Rome, and Pyle Rome and Ehrenberg, P.C., on brief for amici curiae SEIU Local 32BJ, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare East, SEIU Local 509, UFCW Local 791, UFCW Local 1445, UFCW Local 328, United Steelworkers Local 8751, and UNITE HERE Local 26.

Before Thompson and Barron, Circuit Judges, McConnell,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

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BARRON, Circuit Judge.

In this case, a group of construction-industry employers' associations and employers (" employers" ) seek relief from a broad category of enforcement actions that may be brought under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (" ESTL" ), Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148C. Specifically, the employers contend that the ESTL " is preempted" by Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), " with respect" to those employers in the state who are parties to collective bargaining agreements (" CBAs" ) with unions. On that basis, the employers seek a judgment " prohibiting" the Massachusetts Attorney General from " [g]ranting private rights of action to employees who are members of collective bargaining units" and " [e]nforcing civil sanctions pursuant to [the ESTL] against employers who are signatory [sic] to collective bargaining agreements."

The District Court dismissed the suit for failure to state a claim insofar as it constituted a facial, preemption-based challenge to the ESTL, and for want of jurisdiction on ripeness grounds insofar as it represented an as-applied preemption-based challenge to particularized, future actions to enforce the measure. Due to the claim-specific inquiry that we must undertake in order to determine Section 301's preemptive effect, however, we conclude that the employers' unusual request for sweeping pre-enforcement relief is not ripe for adjudication no matter how it is best characterized along the facial/as-applied spectrum. For that reason, we dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

I

.

We start by describing the contours of both the Massachusetts ESTL and federal preemption under Section 301. We then will be better able to describe the basis for this suit and the District Court's reasons for dismissing it.

A

.

In 2014, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved the ESTL through the initiative process. The ESTL broke new ground in Massachusetts by providing that employers of a certain size must compensate their employees for the sick time that they use for specified purposes. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § § 148C(a)-(d).

To ensure compliance with the ESTL, the law provides that the Attorney General " shall enforce [the law] and may obtain injunctive or declaratory relief for this purpose." Id. at § 148C(l). That same subsection of the ESTL further provides that " [v]iolation of [the ESTL] shall be subject to" various provisions of Massachusetts law that, among other things, permit the imposition of civil penalties. Id.; see also id. at § § 27C & 150.

In addition to providing for enforcement by the Attorney General, the ESTL also authorizes an " aggrieved" employee to bring actions under the ESTL, provided that such an employee first files the complaint with the Attorney General to notify her of the impending suit. Id. at § § 148C(l) & 150. After filing the complaint with the Attorney General, the aggrieved employee must wait ninety days to bring the suit unless the Attorney General permits the employee to file the suit before the ninety-day period has run. Id.

Finally, the ESTL authorizes the Attorney General to promulgate regulations " to

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carry out the purpose and provisions" of the law. Id. at § 148C(n). The Attorney General exercised that authority on July 3, 2015 by promulgating regulations that defined certain terms in the ESTL, some of which the employers point to in pressing their preemption-based challenge. 940 C.M.R. § § 33.01-33.11. Specifically, the ESTL provides that covered employers must compensate their employees for such paid sick time " at the same hourly rate as the employee" would have been paid had the employee not taken leave. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148C(a). The regulations promulgated by the Attorney General define the " same hourly rate" to mean " the employee's regular hourly rate" for employees paid a uniform hourly rate. 940 C.M.R. § 33.02. For " employees who receive different pay rates for hourly work from the same employer," the regulations permit an employer to use a " blended rate, determined by taking the weighted average of all regular rates of pay over the previous pay period." Id.

B

.

Section 301 of the National Labor Relations Act long pre-dates the ESTL. It was enacted in 1947, and it provides: " Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees . . . may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties." 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).

Notwithstanding its phrasing, Section 301 is " more than jurisdictional -- [] it authorizes federal courts to fashion a body of federal law for the enforcement of [CBAs]." Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills of Ala., 353 U.S. 448, 450-51, 77 S.Ct. 912, 1 L.Ed.2d 972 (1957). Moreover, soon after Lincoln Mills, the Supreme Court in Local 174, Teamsters v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95, 103, 82 S.Ct. 571, 7 L.Ed.2d 593 (1962), explained that, in light of the congressional command in Section 301 to " fashion . . . a body of federal law for the enforcement of [CBAs]," state courts were not " free to apply individualized local rules when called upon to enforce such agreements." Rather, " in enacting § 301[,] Congress intended doctrines of federal labor law uniformly to prevail over inconsistent state rules." Id. at 104.

The result is that Section 301 preempts state-law " suits alleging [CBA] violations." Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 213, 105 S.Ct. 1904, 85 L.Ed.2d 206 (1985). There is no shortage of complexities concerning precisely what consequences flow from Section 301 preemption, but we need not delve into all of them here. For present purposes, it suffices to say that, by virtue of Section 301's preemptive effect, a state-law claim for breach of a CBA often must be dismissed so that the claim may be arbitrated in accord with an agreement to arbitrate such a breach that the governing CBA contains. See, e.g., id. at 220-21; see also Lucas Flour, 369 U.S. at 105 (holding that the CBA in that case " expressly imposed upon both parties the duty of submitting the dispute in question to final and binding arbitration" ). As the Court has explained, " [t]he need to preserve the effectiveness of arbitration was one of the central reasons that underlay the Court's [preemption] holding in Lucas Flour." Lueck, 471 U.S. at 219.

The Court has also...

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