D. THE AD HOC DECISION DOES NOT VIOLATE THE DBA.
The DBA permits apprentices who are enrolled in an apprenticeship program registered by BAT to be paid less than the prevailing wage. The DBA does not speak to the standards for the registration of apprenticeship programs. The BAT's deferral action does not violate any provision of the DBA.
II. THE COURT WILL ORDER DEFENDANTS TO PERMIT GRINNELL EMPLOYEES TO PARTICIPATE IN EXISTING EXTERNAL APPROVED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.
At oral argument on September 17, 1997, plaintiffs complained that the defendants have gone beyond withholding approval of Grinnell's proposed program. Plaintiffs claim that the defendants actions apply to all of Grinnell's employees whether they wish to register for Grinnell's proposed program or wish to enter an existing external approved program. The defendants have conceded that their ruling extends this broadly.
Here, the defendants have gone much too far. Under no circumstances can the defendants rationalize their action as being consistent with the NAA. By preventing new entrants into the workforce--who are not part of this labor dispute--from receiving apprenticeship training under the NAA, the defendants are effectively punishing innocent workers. Such action by the defendants certainly gives the appearance that they are taking sides in the labor dispute. What is more, as to this facet of the case, the defendants are not discharging their responsibilities under the NAA.
Once again, the Court reminds the parties that the NAA was promulgated to further the interests of apprentices and this Nation by ensuring that men and women entering a particular labor market receive appropriate and needed apprenticeship training. The NAA is not to be employed by the defendants as a weapon against one side or the other in a labor dispute. It is hoped that the defendants will recognize that the decisions they make pursuant to the NAA must promote the best interests of the individuals who are the intended beneficiaries of the act. The defendants must discharge their responsibilities under the NAA impartially.
The action by the defendants prohibiting Grinnell's employees from participating in existing external approved apprenticeship programs is contrary to the NAA, which is to ensure that apprenticeship training takes place. The Court will hold that the defendants ruling, to the extent that Grinnell's employers are prevented from registering in existing external approved apprenticeship programs, is arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law. Thus, the Court will order that Grinnell's employees will be permitted to participate in existing external approved programs.
The Court will uphold the BAT's decision to defer the approval and registration of Grinnell's unilateral apprenticeship program. The Court will order defendants to permit Grinnell employees to participate in existing external approved apprenticeship programs. The Court will issue an order of even date herewith, consistent with this Memorandum Opinion.
* * *
Resolution of this dispute rests on the decision of the NLRB as to whether Grinnell has committed an unfair labor practice by not bargaining to impasse. The complaint was filed at the NLRB on March 29, 1995. The Court does not understand why an administrative agency should take so long in resolving a dispute. An administrative agency must constantly remind itself that it will become irrelevant if it does not act responsibly within a reasonable period of time. It has now been over two years since the complaint was filed before the NLRB. This would seem to be entirely too long a period for consideration of this relatively simple case. The Court truly hopes that a final decision can be rendered by the NLRB within 90 days of this Memorandum Opinion.
September 18, 1997
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
For the reasons set forth in the Memorandum Opinion of even date herewith, it is, by the Court, this 18 day of September, 1997,
ORDERED that the defendants will be, and hereby are, directed to permit Grinnell employees to register in existing external approved apprenticeship programs; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the BAT's decision to defer the registration of Grinnell's unilateral apprenticeship program will be, and hereby is, UPHELD; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that all extant motions will be, and hereby are, declared MOOT; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the above-captioned case will be, and hereby is, DISMISSED from the dockets of this Court, without prejudice to the right of the plaintiffs to re-open this case if the NLRB does not issue its final decision in this matter within 90 days of the date of this Order.
September 18, 1997
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE