Hawaii Government Employees Ass'n, American Federation of State, County and Mun. Employees, Local 152 v. Martoche, No. 88-5057

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore EDWARDS and SENTELLE, Circuit Judges, and ROBINSON; SPOTTSWOOD W. ROBINSON, III
Citation915 F.2d 718
Parties135 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2465, 286 U.S.App.D.C. 275, 116 Lab.Cas. P 10,335 HAWAII GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 152, Appellant, v. Salvatore R. MARTOCHE, Individually and as Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Standards, United States Department of Labor, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 88-5057
Decision Date02 October 1990

Page 718

915 F.2d 718
135 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2465, 286 U.S.App.D.C. 275,
116 Lab.Cas. P 10,335
HAWAII GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL
152, Appellant,
v.
Salvatore R. MARTOCHE, Individually and as Assistant
Secretary for Labor-Management Standards, United
States Department of Labor, Appellee.
No. 88-5057.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued Feb. 10, 1989.
Decided Oct. 2, 1990.

Page 719

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 87-502).

Craig Becker, San Francisco, Cal., with whom Larry Weinberg, Washington, D.C., was on the brief, for appellant.

George P. Williams, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Jay B. Stephens, U.S. Atty., and John D. Bates and R. Craig Lawrence, Asst. U.S. Attys., Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for appellee.

Before EDWARDS and SENTELLE, Circuit Judges, and ROBINSON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by Senior Circuit Judge SPOTTSWOOD W. ROBINSON, III.

SPOTTSWOOD W. ROBINSON, III, Senior Circuit Judge:

Local 152 of the Hawaii Government Employees Association represents a number of state and local-government employees in labor matters. It attacks the Secretary of Labor's position 1 that over a two-year period in the 1980's it was a "labor organization" within the contemplation of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. 2 On stipulated facts, the District Court granted summary judgment for the Secretary. 3 For reasons following, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

The Act imposes fiduciary, reporting and disclosure obligations on labor organizations, their officers and employees. 4 It authorizes the Secretary to conduct investigations to ascertain whether the Act's provisions are being observed, 5 and, in that connection to subpoena records from the labor group under investigation. 6 The Act so defines "labor organization" as to exclude "a State or local central body," but to encompass almost every other type of employee group "which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning" labor matters. 7 The Act defines "employer" just as broadly, 8 but that term does not include "the United States or any corporation wholly owned by the Government of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof." 9 Accordingly, labor organizations representing

Page 720

employees of states or political subdivisions of states exclusively are not subject to the Act. 10

In 1987, the Secretary served on Local 152 an administrative duces tecum demanding production of certain records from July 1, 1983, to June 30, 1985. 11 Local 152 refused to comply and sued in the District Court in an effort to quash the subpoena. 12 Its claim throughout this litigation has been that between those dates the only persons it represented were employees of the State of Hawaii or political subdivisions thereof, and thus that it was exempt from the Act's requirements. 13 As interpreted both administratively 14 and judicially, 15 however, the exemption is unavailable if the representation extends also to nongovernmental employees. 16 It is undisputed that from 1973 to June 3, 1985, Local 152 also represented employees of the Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange Between East and West, 17 which the Secretary says was not a political subdivision of any state.

Congress created the Center in 1960 to provide a place where scholars and students from nations of the East and the West might engage in study and interchange of ideas. 18 Hawaii incorporated the Center as a nonprofit educational organization in 1975. 19 In due course, we examine the characteristics of the Center in depth. 20 The District Court, concluding that the Center was not a political subdivision of a state, refused to quash the subpoena. 21 This appeal followed.

II. LEGISLATIVE TREATMENT OF "POLITICAL SUBDIVISION""

In reviewing an interpretation of a statute by an officer or agency entrusted with its administration, we must adhere to principles adumbrated in a series of Supreme Court decisions beginning with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. NRDC. 22 First, using the "traditional tools of statutory construction," 23 we must determine "whether Congress

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has directly spoken to the precise question at issue," 24 and if so we must, of course, rule consistently with that intent. 25 If, on the other hand, legislative intent is obscure or lacking, we must defer to the agency's interpretation unless it is unreasonable. 26

While, as we have noted, the Act defines "employer" and "labor organization" and "employer" expansively, 27 it does not define the term "political subdivision" nor, beyond what those two words naturally suggest, does it furnish any clue to what a "political subdivision of a state" really is. Further complicating the problem is the sparsity of legislative history on this point. The House Report merely restated the language of its bill. 28 The Senate Report simply observed that its version "define[d] 'labor organization' in the same terms as does the National Labor Relations Act, as amended," but gave it greater scope "since the definitions of 'employer' and 'employee' which are used in defining the term do not contain any of the exclusions, such as those for employers and employees subject to the Railway Labor Act, employers of agricultural labor, employers of public employees (except as provided in subsection (d)), which are provided for in the act." 29 The Conference Report added nothing. 30

With some imprecision in the statutory text and a nearly total lack of elucidation in the legislative history, the situation is squarely one in which Congress implicitly "left a gap for the agency to fill" 31 when that becomes necessary in close cases, and therefore one in which "a court may not substitute its own construction of [the] statutory provision for a reasonable interpretation made by the administrator of an agency." 32 We turn, then, to see what the Secretary had to say.

III. ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION OF "POLITICAL SUBDIVISION""

While Congress left the purport of "political subdivision" somewhat in the dark, the Secretary has undertaken to illuminate the way out. In a manual interpreting the Act, the Secretary has declared:

Whether a particular entity is a 'political subdivision' of a State depends upon the facts of each case. Included among the factors that may be considered are the following: (1) whether the State or other public authority exercises any regulatory control over the entity; (2) whether the State or other political authority participates in the selection of officers of the entity; (3) whether the operations of the

Page 722

entity are conducted independently; (4) whether the operations are financed by the State or other public authority; (5) whether the entity was created by a legislative act; (6) whether the employees of the entity are civil servants subject to regulation by wage scales of the State or other public authority; and (7) whether the entity is exempt from Federal taxation. 33

This methodology is unchallenged; the parties themselves have utilized these criteria freely in their opposing arguments, 34 as did the District Court in concluding that the Center was not a political subdivision of Hawaii. 35 We accept the Secretary's decisional formula as a wholly appropriate exercise of authority to bridge interstices in the legislative scheme. 36 And, after scrutinizing the Secretary's conclusion on the Center's status in light of the formula and the pertinent facts, we cannot say that her construction of the broad statutory term "political subdivision" was at all unreasonable.

IV. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CENTER

In 1960, "to promote better relations and understanding between the United States and the nations of Asia and the Pacific ... through cooperative study, training, and research," Congress projected the Center as a place "where scholars and students in various fields from the nations of the East and West may study, give and receive training, exchange ideas and views, and conduct other activities primarily in support of the objectives of" other federal laws. 37 Through a series of federal grants-in-aid, the Center was established on the Manoa Campus of the University of Hawaii, 38 and operated by the university from 1960 until 1975. 39 During this period, the Federal Government provided about $95 million for the Center, 40 and Center personnel were state employees. 41

On July 1, 1975, the Center became an "educational non-profit public corporation" pursuant to a special act of the Hawaii legislature. 42 At the same time, the Department of State and the corporation's board of governors reached agreement on continuing federal grants-in-aid for operation of the Center. 43 The Center's central mission remained unchanged. 44 The incorporating statute provided that "[t]he corporation shall not be considered a department, agency, or public instrumentality of the State, and shall not be subject to the laws of the State applying to departments, agencies and public instrumentalities of the State, except that the corporation shall be subject to all the laws of the State pertaining to non-profit corporations." 45

From then onward, the board of governors has managed and controlled the Center's affairs. 46 The board consists of eighteen members, 47 at least two of whom are governmental officials. The Governor of Hawaii or his designee is an ex-officio

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member, and the Governor appoints five residents of Hawaii as members. 48 The Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State is also an ex-officio member, and the Secretary of State selects five other members. 49 The president of the University of Hawaii is an ex-officio nonvoting member, 50 and the remaining five members are chosen by those who are already members. 51

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7 practice notes
  • Molina v. Union Independiente Autentica De La Aaa, Civil No. 05-2356 (FAB).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • 8 Mayo 2008
    ...to what a "political subdivision of a state" is, the Magistrate Judge followed the reasoning in Hawaii Gov't Employees Ass'n v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718 (D.C.Cir.1990). In Martoche, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the question whether a non-profit educational corporation was a "po......
  • American Fed., Teachers v. Federacion De Maestros, Civil No. 05-1742(JAG).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • 12 Agosto 2005
    ...Hawaii Government Employees Association, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 152 v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718, 720 (D.C.Cir.1990); Brock v. Southern Region, Region III of Civil Service Employees Association, 808 F.2d 228, 231 (2nd Finally, the AFT's suggestion t......
  • Williams v. Vandergriff, 4:18 CV 515 (JMB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • 31 Agosto 2021
    ...opposed to a potential one, and that the conflict of interest actually affected the adequacy of representation. See Simmons v. Lockhart, 915 F.2d 718, 721 (8th Cir. 1990). In this case, even assuming that an actual conflict of interest existed, Petitioner has not demonstrated how any confli......
  • Wildberger v. American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, AFL-CIO and J
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 21 Junio 1996
    ...the issue, we have taken approving notice of the Eleventh Circuit's position. See Hawaii Gov't Employees Ass'n Local 152 v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718, 720 & n. 15 (D.C.Cir.1990) (holding that a nonprofit educational organization was not a political subdivision of state government and, thus, wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Molina v. Union Independiente Autentica De La Aaa, Civil No. 05-2356 (FAB).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • 8 Mayo 2008
    ...to what a "political subdivision of a state" is, the Magistrate Judge followed the reasoning in Hawaii Gov't Employees Ass'n v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718 (D.C.Cir.1990). In Martoche, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the question whether a non-profit educational corporation was a "po......
  • American Fed., Teachers v. Federacion De Maestros, Civil No. 05-1742(JAG).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • 12 Agosto 2005
    ...Hawaii Government Employees Association, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 152 v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718, 720 (D.C.Cir.1990); Brock v. Southern Region, Region III of Civil Service Employees Association, 808 F.2d 228, 231 (2nd Finally, the AFT's suggestion t......
  • Williams v. Vandergriff, 4:18 CV 515 (JMB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • 31 Agosto 2021
    ...opposed to a potential one, and that the conflict of interest actually affected the adequacy of representation. See Simmons v. Lockhart, 915 F.2d 718, 721 (8th Cir. 1990). In this case, even assuming that an actual conflict of interest existed, Petitioner has not demonstrated how any confli......
  • Wildberger v. American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, AFL-CIO and J
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 21 Junio 1996
    ...the issue, we have taken approving notice of the Eleventh Circuit's position. See Hawaii Gov't Employees Ass'n Local 152 v. Martoche, 915 F.2d 718, 720 & n. 15 (D.C.Cir.1990) (holding that a nonprofit educational organization was not a political subdivision of state government and, thus, wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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