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ASSOCIATED BUILDERS & CONTRS., INC. v. REICH

May 28, 1997

ASSOCIATED BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ROBERT REICH, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

 INTRODUCTION

 Before the Court in the above-captioned case are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. A hearing was held on the cross-motions on May 12, 1997. Based on the pleadings, the arguments by counsel, the entire record herein, and the law applicable thereto, and for the reasons expressed below, the Court shall remand this matter to the defendant agency for further proceedings.

 BACKGROUND

 The National Apprenticeship Act authorizes and directs the Secretary of Labor to

 
formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices, *fn1" to extend the application of such standards by encouraging the inclusion thereof in contracts of apprenticeship, to bring together employers and labor for the formation of programs of apprenticeship, to cooperate with State agencies engaged in the formulation and promotion of standards of apprenticeship . . . .

 29 U.S.C. § 50. Accordingly, the Secretary has promulgated implementing regulations covering, inter alia, the registration, cancellation, and deregistration of apprenticeship programs through the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) and the Department of Labor (DOL). See 29 C.F.R. Part 29.

 In 23 states, apprenticeship programs are registered and monitored through the BAT. In the remaining states and the District of Columbia, the BAT has delegated its authority to register and monitor apprenticeship programs to a recognized State Apprenticeship Agency or Council ("SAC"). To register a program with either the BAT or a SAC ("registration agency"), a sponsor *fn2" may designate an "apprenticeship committee," to administer the program. 29 C.F.R. § 29.2(i). A committee may be "joint," i.e., composed of an equal number of representatives of the employer(s) and of the employees represented by a bona fide collective bargaining agent(s). A committee also may be "unilateral" or "non-joint," i.e., a program sponsor in which a bona fide collective bargaining agent is not a participant. 29 C.F.R. § 29.2(i).

 Regardless of who administers an apprenticeship program, it must conform to regulatory standards. 29 C.F.R. § 29.5. And, any modification or change to a registered program first must be submitted to an appropriate registration agency for approval. 29 C.F.R. § 29.3(g).

 On December 14, 1983, the BAT issued Circular 84-10 to "set forth policies regarding actions taken on requisition for approval of unilateral programs involving labor disputes." BAT Circular 84-10. On April 24, 1995, the BAT issued Circular 95-06, to "provide supplemental guidance regarding registering unilateral apprenticeship programs during labor disputes [as a supplement to] Circular 84-10, December 14, 1983, and 84-10 (Modification), January 16, 1984." BAT Circular 95-06.

 By letter dated May 30, 1996, as amended on June 10, 1996, the BAT issued its ad hoc decision, deferring further consideration of requests by Grinnell to register employees as apprentices until the National Labor Relations Board determines, in the context of its unfair labor practice proceeding, whether Grinnell has bargained to impasse with Local No. 669. *fn3"

 The plaintiffs allege that the BAT's ad hoc decision violates the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701, the National Apprenticeship Act, 29 U.S.C. § 50, the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158, and the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276a. The plaintiffs seek to enjoin the BAT from enforcing its ad hoc decision and to compel the BAT ...


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