Idaho Bld. & Constr. Trades Council v. Inland Pac. Chapter of Assoc’d Builders & Contractors

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 09-16-2015
  • Case #: 11-35985
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judges Reinhardt and Hurwitz
  • Full Text Opinion

If a state regulation of employee collecting bargaining activities and a regulation detailed in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) conflict, the National Labor Relations Board's interpretation of the NLRA governs if rational and consistent with the statute.

Idaho banned “job targeting” programs in its Fairness in Contracting Act (the Act). Construction unions used these programs to increase their members’ access to work and stop the decline in union construction workers. Unions would collect funds from the salaries of workers it represented, and then use those funds to subsidize bids by union contractors, allowing the union contractors to more effectively compete with non-union contracts. Two Idaho unions, Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and Southwest Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO (together the Trade Councils), brought this action to enjoin enforcement of the Act. The district court preliminarily enjoined Idaho’s statute and granted summary judgement to the unions. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the conduct prohibited by Idaho’s Act was actually or arguably protected under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The panel deferred to interpretations of the NLRA by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), holding that most of the conduct prohibited by the Act was protected by the NLRA. The panel held that it defers to the NLRB’s interpretation of the NLRA when the NLRB’s interpretation is rational and consistent with the statute. The panel determined that the objectives of job targeting programs fell directly within Section 7 of the NLRA, which protects employee collective bargaining activities. The panel held the Act was preempted under “Garmon preemption,” which prohibits State regulation of activity that the NLRA protects or prohibits. San Diego Building Trades Council, Millmen’s Union, Local 2020 v. Garmon. The panel also determined that the Act was preempted by the Davis-Bacon Act (governs prevailing wages for certain federal works projects), holding that funds derived in part from Davis-Bacon wages were at least arguably protected by the NLRA, and therefore preempted. AFFIRMED in part, VACATED in part, and REMANDED.

Advanced Search