Amalgamated Transit Union Intern., AFL-CIO v. Donovan, AFL-CIO

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore EDWARDS and GINSBURG, Circuit Judges, and MacKINNON; HARRY T. EDWARDS; GINSBURG; MacKINNON
Citation767 F.2d 939
Parties119 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3185, 247 U.S.App.D.C. 149, 54 USLW 2047 AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION INTERNATIONAL,, et al., Appellants, v. Raymond J. DONOVAN, Secretary of Labor.
Decision Date09 July 1985
Docket NumberAFL-CIO,No. 84-5159

Page 939

767 F.2d 939
119 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3185, 247 U.S.App.D.C.
149, 54 USLW 2047
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION INTERNATIONAL, AFL-CIO, et al., Appellants,
v.
Raymond J. DONOVAN, Secretary of Labor.
No. 84-5159.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued April 11, 1985.
Decided July 9, 1985.

Page 940

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 82-02042).

Jeffrey R. Freund, Washington, D.C., with whom Linda R. Hirshman, Chicago, Ill., Earle W. Putnam and Laurence Gold, Washington, D.C., were on brief, for appellants.

Robert C. Seldon, Asst. U.S. Atty., Washington D.C., with whom Joseph E. diGenova, U.S. Atty., Royce C. Lamberth and R. Craig Lawrence, Asst. U.S. Attys., John F. Depenbrock, Associate Sol., Department of Labor, and Trudy B. Levy, Asst. Chief Counsel, Dept. of Transportation, Washington, D.C., were on brief, for appellee.

William T. Coleman, Donald T. Bliss and Robert W. Batchelder, Washington D.C., were on brief, for American Public Transit Ass'n, amicus curiae, urging affirmance.

Before EDWARDS and GINSBURG, Circuit Judges, and MacKINNON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge HARRY T. EDWARDS.

Concurring statements filed by Circuit Judge GINSBURG and Senior Circuit Judge MacKINNON.

HARRY T. EDWARDS, Circuit Judge.

Section 13(c) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 ("UMTA" or "the Act"), 49 U.S.C.App. Sec. 1609(c) (1982), stipulates that, before federal funds may be awarded to a formerly private but presently publicly owned transit system, the Secretary of Labor must certify that the transit authority has made a "fair and equitable" labor protective arrangement that includes, among other things, provisions ensuring employees of "the continuation of collective bargaining rights." 1 In the present case,

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the Secretary of Labor certified the labor protective agreement of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority ("MARTA" or "the Authority"). MARTA's certification was granted even though, under controlling state law, the Authority is prevented from bargaining collectively with the appellant Amalgamated Transit Union ("ATU") over certain essential terms and conditions of employment and is arguably granted the power to unilaterally establish wages for employees represented by the Union. The ATU here challenges the Secretary's refusal to deny certification to MARTA.

The District Court upheld the Secretary's decision, ruling that section 13(c) does not limit the Secretary to certifying only those labor agreements that contain certain specific labor protective provisions, but rather confers upon him broad discretion to determine whether an agreement, taken as a whole, is fair and equitable. Amalgamated Transit Union v. Donovan, 582 F.Supp. 522, 529 (D.D.C.1984). Because we read the plain language of the Act and its legislative history as mandating, rather than simply recommending, the continuation of collective bargaining rights, and because, by virtue of the current Georgia law, MARTA's labor agreement with ATU does not provide for the continuation of such rights, we reverse the judgment below, with instructions that the District Court require the Secretary to revoke his certification.

I. BACKGROUND

Prior to 1971, mass transportation in the Atlanta metropolitan area was provided by Atlanta Transit System ("ATS"). As a private company, ATS was covered by the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), and its workers enjoyed the rights protected by that statute. Appellant ATU represented ATS employees and negotiated a series of collective bargaining agreements with the company setting wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment. These negotiations were subject to section 8(d) of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 158(d) (1982), which prescribes mandatory subjects of bargaining, and ATS employees were legally entitled to strike to gain leverage in collective bargaining with ATS. Affidavit of Earle W. Putnam, General Counsel, ATU, reprinted in J.A. 84.

In 1965, the Georgia legislature created MARTA, a public corporation authorized to purchase and operate the mass transit system run by ATS. Although Georgia law at the time did not permit public employers to bargain collectively, see International Longshoremen's Association v. Georgia Ports Authority, 217 Ga. 712, 718, 124 S.E.2d 733, 737, cert. denied, 370 U.S. 922, 82 S.Ct. 1561, 8 L.Ed.2d 503 (1962), MARTA's enabling statute allowed the Authority to recognize the transit workers' bargaining representatives and to bargain with them "in the same manner and to the same extent as if they were the employees of any privately owned transportation system." 1965 Ga.Laws at 2243, Sec. 20(b). In 1971, MARTA applied to the Department of Transportation ("DOT") for a grant of UMTA funds in order to purchase and operate ATS. Sections 13(c), 3(e)(4) 2 and 5(n)(1) 3 of the Act condition a grant of funds on certification by the Secretary of Labor that the state or municipal transit authority has satisfied the labor standards set forth in section 13(c). As the Supreme Court explained in Jackson Transit Authority v. Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, 457 U.S. 15, 102 S.Ct. 2202, 72 L.Ed.2d 639 (1982), UMTA was passed at a time when many private transit companies were in precarious financial condition, and the statute was designed to allow local governments to step in and purchase such companies so that communities would not be

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without transportation services. Id. at 17, 102 S.Ct. at 2204. At the same time, Congress recognized that many state laws forbade collective bargaining by public employers, and "was aware that public ownership might threaten existing collective-bargaining rights of unionized transit workers." Id. Accordingly, Congress included section 13(c) in UMTA "[t]o prevent federal funds from being used to destroy the collective-bargaining rights of organized workers." Id. Section 13(c) achieves this end by providing that

a state or local government must make arrangements to preserve transit workers' existing collective-bargaining rights before that government may receive federal financial assistance for the acquisition of a privately owned transit company.

Id. at 16, 102 S.Ct. at 2203.

MARTA, of course, was excepted from Georgia's general prohibition against collective bargaining by state and local governments, and thus, in anticipation of its application for UMTA funds, the Authority met with ATU in 1971 and negotiated a labor protective, or "13(c)," agreement. In this 1971 agreement, MARTA recognized ATU's right to engage in collective bargaining over "all subjects of collective bargaining which are or may be proper subjects of collective bargaining with a private employer." 4 The parties also provided that there would be no strikes or lock-outs in the event of impasse, but rather, that either party could request that bargaining disputes be submitted to binding, or "interest," arbitration. 5 Based on this 13(c) agreement, the Secretary of Labor certified that the parties had entered into a fair and equitable arrangement protecting the transit workers' rights, and that MARTA therefore qualified for UMTA funds. In 1972, following receipt of these funds, MARTA purchased the assets, property and facilities of ATS, and ATS employees became public employees of MARTA.

During the ten years following MARTA's acquisition of the transit system, the Authority applied for and received additional UMTA funds. In each case, the Secretary of Labor certified that the parties' 13(c) agreement, which was renewed in 1977, was fair and equitable. That agreement expired in 1981, however, before MARTA and ATU were able to negotiate a new agreement, and the parties submitted their bargaining disputes to interest arbitration. During the course of the arbitration proceedings, MARTA determined that, since the agreement had expired, it was no longer obligated to pay cost of living adjustments ("COLAs") and therefore ceased all such payments. ATU sought injunctive relief in federal court, arguing that MARTA's cessation of the COLA benefits was a breach of the 1977 13(c) agreement. The district court granted the injunction, but the Eleventh Circuit dismissed the suit on appeal, holding that breach of a 13(c) agreement was not a statutory violation giving rise to a federal cause of action, but was rather a simple breach of contract action over which state, not federal, courts had jurisdiction. Local Division 732, Amalgamated Transit Union v. MARTA, 667 F.2d 1327, 1332, 1340, (11th Cir.1982). MARTA then revoked its consent to interest arbitration, which it claimed it had a right to do under Georgia law, and on February 23, 1982, it gained a temporary restraining order in state court against further arbitration proceedings. MARTA v. Local Division 732, Amalgamated Transit Union, No. C-83621 (Super.Ct. Fulton County, Ga.), aff'd, 251 Ga. 15, 303 S.E.2d 1 (1983), vacated and remanded, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 1263, 79 L.Ed.2d 670 (1984), on remand, 253 Ga. 219, 320 S.E.2d 742 (1984).

Shortly thereafter, in April 1982, the Georgia legislature entered the fray by passing Act 1506, which amended the 1965 MARTA Act so as to limit MARTA's authority to bargain collectively with ATU.

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Specifically, Act 1506 prohibited MARTA from bargaining over five subjects that are at issue here: the assignment of employees, discharge and termination of employees for cause, subcontracting of work, fringe benefits for part-time employees, and assignment and calculation of overtime. It also changed the procedures to be followed for interest arbitration such that, where the parties could not agree on wages, the matter could be submitted to arbitration only upon the consent of both parties. Act 1506 Sec. 3(b)(2), 1982 Ga.Laws at 5104.

At the time when Act 1506 was passed, MARTA had pending an application for additional UMTA funds. ATU had...

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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
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    ...See, e.g., Population Institute v. McPherson, 797 F.2d 1062, 1064-65 (D.C.Cir.1986); Amalgamated Transit Union International v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939 (D.C.Cir.1985). More specifically, the language and history of the worker rights provision indicate Congress's intention to preserve judicial......
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
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    ...of `wages,' and are therefore subjects over which employers and employees must bargain." Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939, 951 & n. 12 (D.C.Cir.1985) (citing Singer Mfg. Co. v. NLRB, 119 F.2d 131 (7th Cir.1941) (paid holidays) and Detroit Police Officers Ass'n v. Cit......
  • National Treasury Employees Union v. Chertoff, No. 05-5436.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 27, 2006
    ...bargaining" of any real meaning in limiting the scope of bargaining. Our decision in Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l, AFL-CIO v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939 (D.C.Cir.1985) ("ATU"), although not controlling here, is instructive. The Urban Mass Transportation Act allowed formerly private transit co......
  • Am. Fed'n of Gov't Emps. v. Trump, No. 1:18-cv-1261 (KBJ)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • August 25, 2018
    ...maintain "an open mind"; and make "a sincere effort ... to reach [ ] common ground." Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l AFL–CIO v. Donovan , 767 F.2d 939, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1985) ; Turgeon v. Fed. Labor Relations Auth. , 677 F.2d 937, 939–40 (D.C. Cir. 1982) ("[I]t is appropriate ... to consider ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • International Labor Rights Educ. and Research Fund v. Bush, No. 90-5390
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • January 31, 1992
    ...See, e.g., Population Institute v. McPherson, 797 F.2d 1062, 1064-65 (D.C.Cir.1986); Amalgamated Transit Union International v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939 (D.C.Cir.1985). More specifically, the language and history of the worker rights provision indicate Congress's intention to preserve judicial......
  • Pleasantview Nursing Home, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., No. 01-2288.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 10, 2003
    ...of `wages,' and are therefore subjects over which employers and employees must bargain." Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939, 951 & n. 12 (D.C.Cir.1985) (citing Singer Mfg. Co. v. NLRB, 119 F.2d 131 (7th Cir.1941) (paid holidays) and Detroit Police Officers Ass'n v. Cit......
  • National Treasury Employees Union v. Chertoff, No. 05-5436.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 27, 2006
    ...bargaining" of any real meaning in limiting the scope of bargaining. Our decision in Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l, AFL-CIO v. Donovan, 767 F.2d 939 (D.C.Cir.1985) ("ATU"), although not controlling here, is instructive. The Urban Mass Transportation Act allowed formerly private transit co......
  • Am. Fed'n of Gov't Emps. v. Trump, No. 1:18-cv-1261 (KBJ)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • August 25, 2018
    ...maintain "an open mind"; and make "a sincere effort ... to reach [ ] common ground." Amalgamated Transit Union Int'l AFL–CIO v. Donovan , 767 F.2d 939, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1985) ; Turgeon v. Fed. Labor Relations Auth. , 677 F.2d 937, 939–40 (D.C. Cir. 1982) ("[I]t is appropriate ... to consider ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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